POLICE have banned the sale of alcohol in retail outlets countrywide in the wake of the 21-day national lockdown to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

The ban was effected yesterday to minimise social disorder and allow shops to sell only “essential” products during the shutdown.

President Mnangagwa last week declared a national 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 that will run until April 16. The virus has infected over 980 000 people worldwide, killing over 50 000.

In Zimbabwe there are eight confirmed cases of Covid-19 and one death.

Police have been deployed in full force to take action on shops that defy the ban. A snap survey by our Bulawayo Bureau yesterday showed that shops around town had stopped selling alcohol, although the shelves and fridges were full to the brim.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the measure came as rowdy citizens were defying social distancing measures.

“The lockdown measures were clearly stated and in light of ensuring that we fight Covid-19, there will be no sale of alcohol at any point in places like bottle stores and supermarkets. This comes as we have realised that people who buy alcohol at supermarkets are giving us challenges. They buy and drink as groups, be it either in their vehicles or places of residence thereby defying social distancing,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.

“Action will be taken on all those who will defy the order and sell alcohol at any bases. The police today (yesterday) started to take full action and will be visible on the ground throughout the lockdown.”

He urged citizens to stay indoors to protect themselves and their families.

“People should take heed of Covid-19 and put their health first and that of every citizen in the country as the pandemic is affecting all of us,” he said.

Asst Comm Nyathi said police will be closely monitoring that there are no sales of alcohol in residential areas.

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