Police and soldiers turned back vehicles and individuals who were going to the central business district and ordered the closure of shops in downtown Harare.
A spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Republic Police said the tighter security was meant to ensure that only those allowed to resume business activities under level two of the COVID-19 lockdown would come into the central business district.
He called on members of the public “to observe that the country is still under Level Two national lockdown in order to manage the COVID-19 pandemic”, which has so seen the number of cases rise from around 34 two weeks ago to 203 as of Tuesday.
“Only essential services, businesses in the formal commercial and industrial sectors were exempted to operate during this period,” the spokesperson said.
However, government critics said the move was more political than a mere response to the rising coronavirus cases.
The action by the police comes amid simmering political tension following the arrest of the lawyer of opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.
The lawyer, Thabani Mpofu, was due to appear in court on Tuesday to answer charges of allegedly trying to defeat the course of justice after lying under oath during a trial several years ago.