Botswana: Capital City Back on COVID-19 Lockdown

An empty street is seen during a nationwide lockdown, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, in Botswana.

Botswana’s director of health services, Dr Malaki Tshipayagae, announced Friday that the capital, Gaborone, will return to extreme lockdown after eight new COVID-19 cases at a private hospital.

“We are concerned because we did not know if it is a communal infection or a hospital-acquired infection, or [it] indicates significant local transmission, or whether there is some form of contamination at the facility,” Tshipayagae said. “As a result, because of those factors, or unknowns, we have decided to shut down or lock down Greater Gaborone.” 

A further four imported cases were reported Friday, bringing the country’s COVID-19 tally to 60.

Tshipayagae said the army and police would resume patrols, effective Friday midnight.

“Movement of people will be through a permit and there would be patrols to ensure that rules are adhered to.” 

Most economic activities had resumed as the diamond-rich country emerged from a seven-week lockdown that ended May 21.

Schools had reopened but will now close in Gaborone and surrounding areas until further notice.

Gaborone resident Mpho Marumo said the latest development is a drawback.

“It’s quite disappointing really,” Marumo said. “We were looking forward to... the schools, the kids. It’s a really big setback, the schools had reopened and now closed.”

Prior to Friday’s 12 cases, Botswana only had one active case. The country has recorded one COVID-19 death.

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