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South Africa arrests over 7,000 for contravening COVID-19 rules

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The South African Police on Wednesday, said no fewer than 7,000 people have been arrested in the country, over no usage of face masks in public places since the end of December.

The government had since May, 2020, made face coverings mandatory and in March, 2020, gradually eased movement restrictions to reduce the coronavirus infections. But due to the recent surge of the virus, a partial lockdown was reinstated last month.

In a statement issued and signed by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, on Wednesday, he disclosed that over 20,000 people had been arrested and fined since December 29, 2020, for breaching new rules put in place by the government in the country, adding that 7,455 people were also detained for not wearing face masks.

He further stated that over 830 people have also been arrested for selling, dispensing and transporting alcohol.

Read also: South Africa shuts land borders to stem spread of mutant COVID-19 variant

Officials at the time vowed to be more stringent in enforcing the regulations, which include an alcohol sales ban.

Cele noted that, “Law enforcement agencies do not enjoy making these arrests

“However, officers… are left with no choice in the interest of saving lives,” he noted.

South Africa has arrested over 342,000 people for contravening coronavirus measures, since after a national state of disaster was declared in March 2020.

The country is the continent’s worst-affected by the pandemic, with more than 1.2 million coronavirus cases and 34,000 deaths recorded to date.

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