Zimbabwe begins coronavirus lockdown

Zimbabwe begins coronavirus lockdown
People queue to pay for goods at a supermarket ahead of a nationwide 21-day lockdown. (Reuters)
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Updated 30 March 2020

Zimbabwe begins coronavirus lockdown

Zimbabwe begins coronavirus lockdown
  • The president announced a 21-day lockdown
  • Police mounted checkpoints on routes leading to Harare’s central business district

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwean authorities on Monday began enforcing a three-week lockdown in its fight against the spread of coronavirus after the disease left one person dead and infected six others.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared a 21-day “total” lockdown from Monday curtailing movement within the country, shutting most shops and suspending flights in and out of Zimbabwe.
Police mounted checkpoints on routes leading to Harare’s central business district, stopping cars and turning away pedestrians who had no authorization to be in the area.
Elsewhere truckloads of metropolitan and national police armed with batons were on patrol, ordering people back to their homes.
“We don’t want to see people here on the streets. We don’t want to see people who have no business in town just loitering,” a policewoman said through a loud hailer. “Everyone to their homes.”
Her colleagues, in riot gear, dispersed people standing in small groups at the Copacabana minibus terminus, which is usually abuzz with people including foreign currency dealers.
In the township of Mbare, the usually bustling terminus for long-distance buses was deserted with only municipal street cleaners sweeping the empty bus ranks.
A traditionally busy downtown area of Harare referred to as “The Third World” resembled a ghost town with few people on the streets. Most shops had their shutters down.
For many of the country’s 16 million people, who are already suffering a grim economic recession, the lockdown means even tougher hardship.
With unemployment rate estimated at around 90 percent, most Zimbabweans have informal jobs to eke out a living and few have substantial savings.
Some were trying to leave the city for rural villages.
“We would rather spend the 21 days at our rural home, where we don’t have to buy everything. I can’t afford to feed my family here when I am not working,” said Most Jawure.
“We have been waiting here for more than two hours but there are no buses,” Jawure told AFP while standing with his wife and daughter beside a bulging suitcase.


Driver who damaged cars worth millions in London given suspended prison sentence

Updated 37 min 53 sec ago

Driver who damaged cars worth millions in London given suspended prison sentence

Driver who damaged cars worth millions in London given suspended prison sentence
  • Ahmed Al-Husseini hit £300k McLaren MP4, £200k Bentley and £100k Porsche Cayenne during 92mph chase in 30mph zone

LONDON: A delivery driver who sped through central London as he chased another car before crashing into a row of supercars, causing up to £1 million ($1.34 million) of damage, was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence on Wednesday.

CCTV footage from August 2019 showed Ahmed Al-Husseini, 25, behind the wheel of an Audi A8 in the exclusive Chelsea area as he pursued the driver of a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, who he believed had damaged his car.

During the chase, Al-Husseini’s vehicle jumped through the air and collided with railings outside a house before crashing into a £300,000 McLaren MP4, a £200,000 Bentley and a £100,000 Porsche Cayenne. He also damaged an Audi A5, a Porsche Carrera 4S, a Land Rover Discovery, a Vauxhall Corsa and a Mitsubishi Outlander, Metro.co.uk reported. He suffered head and knee injuries in the crash and spent two days in hospital.

Prosecutor Brian Reece told Isleworth Crown Court that Al-Husseini, a delivery driver for a newspaper company in London, was filmed traveling at speeds of up to 92mph. The speed limit in central London is 30mph. He said the Audi was traveling so fast it became airborne at a junction, “at which point the defendant, as the driver, would have no control over it — and just across that junction is Moore Street, which is the place where some extremely valuable vehicles are parked.”

Reece added: “He gave the context of having been himself in a hit-and-run incident that he attributed to the driver of the McLaren SLR, and thought he was in pursuit of the SLR in Lennox Gardens four to five hours later.

“He claimed he had no recollection of the incident. He had had a full license for about a year and had no previous convictions. Settlement figures given in interview were between half a million and a million pounds for damage to these cars.”

Tony Nayager, defending, said: “If he’s going to drive at that speed then he’s going to bear the consequences. He’s readily in acceptance of his culpability for this matter.

“Perhaps Mr Al-Husseini is feeling rather sorry for himself, rather than anyone else. The car belonged to his father’s former partner; this later broke down their relationship and also his relationship with his father.”

Judge Sarah Paneth told Al-Husseini that only Audi engineering had saved him and a passenger in his car from serious injury or death.

“I’m not so much concerned about the value of these vehicles in monetary terms, it is the number of vehicles and the fact that to any of the people who owned these vehicles, Vauxhalls or Porsche Cayennes, they were all valuable,” she said.

“Whatever the value of the vehicles was, I have to look at the fact that you caused extensive damage to a very large number of vehicles. Damage to these vehicles was caused by you driving far too fast. It is frankly a miracle that no one was seriously hurt, perhaps other than you.”

In addition to the suspended prison sentence, Al-Husseini was banned from driving for two years. Under UK law he will have to pass an extended driving test to regain his license.