By Robert Tapfumaneyi
POLICE have deployed senior officers to be in charge of security checkpoints along all major roads as the force tightens the movement of people without valid lockdown exemption letters.
In memo to all officers commanding districts, Officer Commanding Police Harare Province said as from last Monday, no vehicles would be allowed to pass through any checkpoint if their owners are not in the category of essential services.
He gave orders for the vehicle to make a U-turn or for the police to impound it.
The police chief also said funerals had become Covid-19 ‘super spreaders’ as mourners no longer adhered to the stipulated limited number of 30 people.
“Some companies which are not in the category of essential service such as Bata Shoe Company, Bhola Hardware, Furniture and Clothing shops, are conducting business on the strength of letters issued by the ministry of industry,” the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) said in a memo before ordering their closure with immediate effect.
“Companies and businesses not in the category of essential service but operating should close. This is regardless of being in possession of exemption letters.
“If a company or service for which an exemption letter has been issued is not exempted by law, the bearer should not be allowed to pass or operate, irrespective of who has issued that letter.
“No vehicles should be allowed to pass a checkpoint if they are not in the category of essential services. Such vehicles should be arrested or made to go back where they will be coming from.
“Funeral gatherings have become one of the super spreaders of the coronavirus, and as such, the stipulated maximum number of 30 mourners be strictly adhered to.
“Screening of deserving travellers during curfew times should be intensified, allowing passage only to those providing essential services such as those in the sectors of health including pharmacies, security services, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, energy, fuel industry and other related entities.”
The police added: “An inspector should be deployed at busy roadblocks in big cities so that correct decisions are made. At other checkpoints, a sergeant or assistant Inspector should be in charge depending on the level of activities at that particular point.”
The new measures by the police come when the government this week doubled fines for non-custodial offences with a person found in public without a face mask facing a penalty of $5 000.