At least 10 000 people have been arrested in Zimbabwe for not wearing face masks since the reintroduction of Covid-19 Level IV lockdown last week.

This brings the total number of people arrested, since last March for flouting lockdown regulations, to 309 061.

Most of the offenders are asked to pay a fine as admission of guilt.

Addressing a press conference in Harare Wednesday afternoon, the acting information minister Jenfan Muswere, said Harare and Bulawayo continue to lead in both the number of new Covid-19 infections and deaths.

On Tuesday, 943 new cases and 23 deaths were recorded across the country with Harare recording 401 new infections.

“What is worrying is that within a week 9 993 people were arrested for not wearing masks and this points to negligence by some members of the society who are not taking this virus seriously and this calls for behavior change,” Muswere said.

“Whilst the virus might not kill offenders, it has a potential to affect the next person who is a loved one, a mother, a father, a colleague, a sister or a brother.

“As of 6th January 2021, a total of 309 061 arrests were made countrywide for flouting lockdown regulations, indicating an increase of 16 286, from the 292 775 recorded in the last briefing.

“It is evident that there is need for national discipline and self-prudence as we wage a war against this invisible enemy. We cannot afford to have a lackadaisical approach in this fight as it will annihilate us”.

However, the minister applauded most Zimbabweans for adhering to set Covid-19 regulations.

“Whilst the generality of Zimbabweans have conducted themselves very well, it is quite disturbing that there are individuals who are wantonly disregarding the dictates of the lockdown regulations thereby unnecessarily putting many lives at risk.

“This kind of behaviour is deplorable and must be condemned. It is imperative that we all act responsibly if we are to survive the onslaught as this reckless behaviour threatens to jeopardise our very own existence.”

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