Botswana tightens anti-pandemic measures as COVID-19 situation worsens

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People queue outside a supermarket in Gaborone, capital of Botswana, April 2, 2020. Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi has declared a state of emergency following confirmation of three coronavirus cases in that country. He has also announced a lockdown beginning on April 2 for 28 days. (Xinhua/Tshekiso Tebalo)
People queue outside a supermarket in Gaborone, capital of Botswana, April 2, 2020. Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi has declared a state of emergency following confirmation of three coronavirus cases in that country. He has also announced a lockdown beginning on April 2 for 28 days. (Xinhua/Tshekiso Tebalo)

Botswana on Friday announced the banning of all public gatherings with effect from Aug. 16 midnight for a period of three weeks in view of the worsening situation of COVID-19 and its burden on the economy and health facilities.

Also, the ban of alcohol sales remains while curfew will start at 8 p.m. and end at 4 a.m. for the three weeks, said President Mokgweetsi Masisi while giving an update on the country’s response to COVID-19.

“We have recorded an exponential increase in positive cases and fatalities (thereby) severely straining our fragile health care system due to COVID-19’s Delta variant which is easily transmissible and apparently more lethal,” said Masisi, noting all public gatherings, except religious gatherings and funerals, have been suspended in a move aimed at curbing the spread of the global pandemic.

Reopening of schools, which was scheduled for Aug. 17, will be delayed for another three weeks except for those students preparing to write their final examinations this year, according to Masisi.

“These restrictions will be accompanied by an acceleration of our vaccination programme throughout the country,” said Masisi, adding an increase in the proportion of the vaccinated population will help the country prevent severe infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Botswana has registered 136,758 coronavirus cases and 1,973 related deaths. The country has so far received a total of 658,690 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 400,000 of which were from China’s Sinovac while the remainder comprise of AstraZeneca, Pfizer as well as Johnson and Johnson vaccines. Enditem

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