Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
Police have arrested 485 people countrywide for failing to abide by restrictions outlined by President Mnangagwa last week when he announced a raft of measures to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi told The Herald last night that those arrested were found guilty of operating shebeens, failing to observe social distance in queues, while some motorists were also arrested for moving around aimlessly.
Asst Comm Nyathi said some of the arrested people were abusing the exemption rule on essential services, trying to bribe or lying to police details manning roadblocks.
In Harare, ZRP and the Harare municipal police mounted roadblocks on several roads where people were being asked to produce letters from employers or relevant authorities from their respective areas showing that they are providing essential services.
Most people were asked to produce a letter or concrete evidence clarifying the reasons of their visit in town or their final destination.
Police dispersed some people who were loitering in the CBD.
At Africa Unity Square, few people where seen enjoying their food in the park at mid-day, but had vanished later in the day.
Some taxis were parked along Third Street.
Supermarkets were open, but closed in the afternoon in line with the Government directive. At most service stations fuel was available and there were short or no queues at all.
Police also used a public address system to remind people to stay at home.
The Herald visited a number of bus terminuses in Harare including the usually ever-busy Simon Muzenda Street, Copacabana, Market Square and Charge Office, among others where some people were waiting to board Zupco buses.
Zupco buses were ferrying passengers on condition they produced evidence that they were providers of essential services.
A number of people interviewed said they had come to town to conduct different businesses, some collecting their medication, while others were attending to pressing family issues like funerals and family disputes.
Mr Takunda Munemo who was in a queue waiting for a Zupco bus at Copacabana said he had come to town to seek medication at a private clinic in Newlands.
“I came from Kuwadzana 3 because I have an appointment with my doctor. I came aboard a Zupco bus on the strength of my prescription. I cannot defer the appointment with my doctor,” he said.
Another man, Mr Thomas Nyandu from Ruwa said the lockdown was important, but Zupco buses needed to be disinfected and equipped with sanitisers.
In some farms surrounding Harare, it was business as usual.
The Herald visited Danckwerts Farm and workers were conducting their day-to-day duties, observing social distancing.
They had masks and gloves to avoid contact and spread of the pandemic.
Farm manager Mr Clever Kanyama said they were complying with the Government directive in all aspects to reduce the spread of the pandemic.
“As an institution, we have bought masks and gloves for our workers. Every worker is provided with the safety clothes while all the entrance to the farm have sanitisers,” he said.
Before they get into the field, the workers are required to wash their hands and sanitised.
“In whatever we do, we prioritise keeping the prescribed distance,” said Mr Kanyama.
A man from Glaudina, in Harare who offers car valet services along George Silundika Avenue and Simon Muzenda Street Mr Gift Famba said the 21-day lockdown was not sustainable for him.
“I came into town early in the morning through Bulawayo Road using private transport to ensure I put food on the table for my family. My kids want to eat and I have to provide the food. That is why I am here. Otherwise my life will be unbearable.”
Asked to explain how he managed to get into town when there is a big roadblock at the Zimbabwe Agriculture Society stretch along Samora Machel Avenue, Mr Famba said he used his survival skills to pass through.