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Zimbabwean police have so far arrested 224,037 people for violating COVID-19 lockdown regulations, police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said Thursday.

Zimbabwe imposed a nationwide lockdown in March which has been gradually eased over the months, with most sectors of the economy now fully reopened.

In a statement, Nyathi expressed concern at the growing number of people in the country who are no longer observing COVID-19 safety and preventive measures.

“Police has noted with concern that some sections of the public no longer value the wearing of face masks, observe social distancing guidelines, sanitization and public gathering restrictions,” Nyathi said. “COVID-19 is real, and the public should avoid being complacent and cooperate with law enforcement agencies to curtail the spread of the pandemic,” he added.

Nyathi reminded Zimbabweans that the country was still under COVID-19 regulations, including a curfew that runs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., a limit of 100 people or less for church gatherings and 50 people or less at funerals. “Let us take note that weddings, birthday, house parties, political and other social gatherings which include musical shows and concerts are still banned. Church leaders are warned against hosting or convening all night prayers,” Nyathi said.
He added that night-clubs, bars, beer halls and casinos are still not allowed to operate under COVID-19 safety measures. He said police had intensified patrols, surveillance, checks and that commuter omnibuses operating illegally within cities and inter-city routes will be impounded.

There are fears of a possible second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe after the country has witnessed an increase in the number of new infections in the past two weeks, which jumped to 294 last week from 109 the previous week. The country recorded 8,981 COVID-19 cases, 8,184 recoveries and 261 deaths as of Wednesday.

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