Malaki Tshipayagae: places Botswana’s capital Gaborone under lockdown

By Brian Benza

Botswana has reimposed a strict coronavirus lockdown in its capital city, Gaborone, and surrounding areas after it recorded 12 new cases of the virus.

Malaki Tshipayagae, the country’s director of health services, announced the measure on TV Friday night.

He said officials had recorded four new imported cases at its borders and eight at a private hospital in Gaborone.

The new cases increased the country’s COVID-19 caseload to 60.

“We are still to determine whether the hospital cases are local transmissions,” Tshipayagae said.

“From midnight today the greater Gaborone area will revert to extreme social distancing until further notice, where only essential services will be allowed to operate.”

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Diamond-rich Botswana ended a 48-day national coronavirus lockdown late last month.

It allowed businesses and schools to reopen under controls.

Its borders are closed, but returning citizens and imports of essential goods can enter.

Before the new cases were announced, Botswana only had one active case of the coronavirus.

It has recorded only one coronavirus death.

But the economy has been severely hurt by the shutdown.

Real gross domestic product is forecast to contract 13% this year.

Budget deficit could also be more than double.