Police Inspector General George Kainja has warned those breaking newly gazetted Covid-19 rules, which have resulted in 100 people getting arrested, saying law enforcers will bring laggards to book.
He said police officers had already started doing their job as, on Monday and Tuesday, they arrested 64 people in Lilongwe for not wearing face masks.
“We have started arresting [those that are not following the guidelines]. On Monday and Tuesday, we arrested 64 people who have already paid a fine of [K10 000 each] for not wearing a face mask and we are continuing with our operation,” Kainja said.
Kainja said this during the daily Covid-19 briefing in Lilongwe Wednesday, when he stressed that, before they started arresting people, they had embarked on sensitisation campaigns.
Kainja has further warned public transport operators to strictly adhere to the set laws, including those on sitting capacity, stressing that failure to do so would culminate in arrest.
So far, 15 minibus drivers have been arrested for failing to comply with the reduced capacity rule, which entails that two passengers occupy one seat.
Some of the law violators were fined K20,000 each while others parted ways with K75,000. In Blantyre, for example, eight minibus drivers were arrested and fined K75,000 each while, in Mzuzu, 14 drivers have been arrested on the same offence.
Kainja also said his office had received reports that some police officers lock themselves inside bars and join the drinking spree, instead of invoking the law of closing drinking joints after 8pm.
He urged the citizenry to report such errant officers to their seniors.
Police have also arrested 38 returnees from South Africa, who are suspected to have vandalized property at Mapanga Prison Training College in Blantyre during the time they were quarantined.
Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said, between 12pm on Tuesday and 12pm on Wednesday, the country recorded a total of 992 new cases of Covid-19 and 17 deaths
She indicated that 78 recovered within the same hours.
Kandodo Chiponda also said the government understood that some of the gazetted laws being used to contain Covid-19 were, somehow, infringing on people’s rights.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.