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Zim police arrest, fine nearly 70,000 people since start of lockdown

This week police intensified roadblocks around Harare and Bulawayo, saying people were violating lockdown rules by entering the cities without permits.

FILE: Police officers manning a check point quiz a driver going into the central business district on 20 April 2020, in Emakhandeni township, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Picture: AFP

HARARE - Police in Zimbabwe said they have arrested and fined nearly 70,000 people since lockdown measures were introduced 11 weeks ago.

This week police intensified roadblocks around Harare and Bulawayo, saying people were violating lockdown rules by entering the cities without permits.

In total, police have arrested 67,419 people for not wearing facemasks, opening businesses without permits, and non-essential travel.

State media said the majority were released after paying fines of 500 Zimbabwe dollars, equivalent to around R120.

The country has recorded 391 cases of COVID-19, mostly among returnees at isolation centres where testing appears to be focused.

Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said that lockdown measures would be eased to help reopen the economy.

But on Monday in Harare and Tuesday in Bulawayo, police mounted roadblocks on major roads leading into the cities, preventing many workers from reporting for duty.

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