Botswana Prepares For A Lock Down

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

WHO expects South Africa’s neighbours to put in place same measures

With South Africa having gone into a 21-day lockdown on Friday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it expects most Southern African countries to put in place the same measures adopted South Africa in curbing the spread of coronavirus.

WHO Africa regional director Dr Matshidiso Moeti in her media brief this week from Congo Brazzaville said the emphasis is on curbing the spread of the virus, and effective screening and testing remains key. She said measures that are geared towards curbing the spread will go a long way in the fight against coronavirus.

Dr Matshidiso said the organisation expects some Southern African countries to also put the same measures that their neighbour South Africa has put in place in response to the risk posed by the coronavirus.

Botswana, to the north of South Africa, which is still to register a case of coronavirus, is almost certainly going into a lock down this week, and the government is expected to make the announcement any time. Citizens were made aware of the imminent lockdown last week when government announced more of the measures meant to stop the spread of the virus.

South Africa went into a total lock down on Friday last week, as its number of cases surpassed the 1000th mark, with two deaths reported same day. To confirm fears of a lockdown, President Mokgweetsi Masisi asked Batswana to prepare for the imminent lockdown.

“Our experts, led by Dr Masupu with Professor Alexandra advise us to restrict the movement of people so we are better able to trace and treat any case that occurs,” Masisi said in a statement.

“Our experts, led by Dr Masupu with Professor Alexandra advise us to restrict the movement of people so we are better able to trace and treat any case that occurs,” Masisi said in a statement.

The government of Botswana also announced the ban on the sale of alcohol for 30 days effective the 28th of March. It also closed its boarders to travellers from high risk countries. Only returning residents and citizens are allowed into the country but are to be subjected to a 14 days quarantine. Other places affected include hair salons, gymnasiums and amusement arcade. Gambling licensees have also been affected by the latest measures.

The national airline, Air Botswana has suspended flights on all its routes, both regional and domestic, a move that has put the travel and tourism industry in a coma. This has led to workers in industry being sent home, either on retrenchments or taking salary cuts.

Government has also taken a decision to release non-essential public servants to work from home to decongest offices and reduce movement to prevent the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, Botswana has received a donation of medical supplies from Jack Ma Foundation. The donation which arrived in the capital Gaborone on Thursday night about a Ethiopian airline cargo plane.

The supplies included 20 000 laboratory diagnostic test kits, 100 000 medical face masks and 1000 protective suits and face shields to be used in the fight against coronavirus.

Most countries in the Southern Africa region have imposed travel restriction and closed borders to arrivals from high risk countries due to the risk posed by the coronavirus. Two people have died from coronavirus in South Africa, and the total number of cases in the country has risen to more than 1,000, from 927 a day earlier.

“This morning, we South Africans wake up with sad news that we now have our first deaths resulting from COVID-19,” the health ministry said on Friday.

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