Reckless abandon… Thousands defied a police ban on all gatherings and partied with no regard for Covid protocols in Mbare on New Year’s eve. (Pictures Credits: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
HARARE – The government was left scrambling Friday following videos showing a boisterous crowd celebrating the arrival of the New Year in Harare’s Mbare township, despite a blanket ban on such gatherings due to Covid-19.
The footage captured by Associated Press (AP) photojournalist Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi showed thousands of people partying with little or no regard for coronavirus protocols.
This sparked national outrage and embarrassment for both government and the police, who had vowed to crack down on any such gatherings on New Year’s eve going into 2021.
After taking fire on social media platforms over the potential super spreader, the government issued a brief statement promising a police reaction.
“Government notes with concern circulating pictures and videos purportedly showing large crowds at an event in Mbare on 31 December 2020,” the information ministry tweeted.
“Such gatherings are not only illegal but potential Covid-19 super spreaders. Police have since been alerted and will issue a statement on the incident.”
Government spokesperson Nick Ndabaningi Mangwana appeared to suggest tighter lockdown measures were on the way after the concerning event.
“Personally, I hated the higher level lockdowns. I know it may sound idealistic, but don’t you think that, if we all make it our New Year Resolution to act responsibly as if we are in a hard Lockdown, we can possibly avoid going back there?” he tweeted.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a marked surge in both coronavirus infections and deaths, with experts warning that the worst is yet to come.
Yesterday the country recorded 3 fatalities and 242 new infections. The death toll now stands at 363 while cumulative cases have accelerated to 13867.