Botswana has ended its lockdown today at midnight Wednesday after 48 days. The end of the country lockdown comes after gradual relaxation of restrictions that had been imposed earlier on aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus in the diamond-rich southern African country.
As the lockdown is lifted all businesses and schools are now cleared to reopen under government guidelines, including individual temperature checks, use of face masks and regular sanitizing.
COVID-19 Task Force Coordinator Dr. Kereng Masupu said in a news briefing that depending on the coronavirus disease pattern, a return to lockdown will remain an option in case things don’t go as planned.
Meanwhile, people returning home to Botswana will undergo mandatory quarantine and the ban of foreign visitors remains in place as the government doesn’t want to risk importing in new Coronavirus cases just as it has happened in many countries especially in Asia where the lockdown restrictions where perhaps lifted a little bit too early
Botswana is one of the very few countries in Africa, that still have managed to keep the spread of the Co0roanvirus disease on a very low rate as the country has only confirmed 79 COVID-19 infections and one death.
According to Reuters a renowned news agency, Botswana’s government set aside more than $400 million to help absorb the economic impact of businesses suspending operations, including the prized diamond industry, which had no buyers coming into the country because of travel restrictions.
Although many people outside Botswana can use Botswana a case study of a country that has handled the coronavirus outbreak with the utmost professionalism, President Masisi’s views on the handling of this deadly virus differ as he fired the health ministry’s top civil servant and his deputy, a thing which many people believe is tied to Botswana’s COVID-19 response. However, the president has offered no explanation whatsoever for removing firing these people from their offices.
The president tests for COVID-19
President Eric Masisi had gone back to work in early April after a self-quarantine period following his trip to neighboring Namibia last month. He tested negative for COVID-19 on April 1.
Masisi has since declared a state of emergency with initiatives to control the spread of the virus, which claimed the life of one person.
The second time the president tests for COVID-19
All Botswana legislators as well as the president, underwent a 14-day mandatory quarantine, a day after a health care worker at parliament tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
However, these were released upon completion of the two-week quarantine Thursday after testing negative for the new coronavirus. However, some lawmakers did not fully comply with the self-isolation measures and had to be moved into supervised quarantine.
The third round of quarantine for President Eric Masisi
The government this morning announced that President Eric Masisi was due to be released from home quarantine after testing negative for COVID-19.
“His Excellency President Masisi went into quarantine following his one day trip to Harare, Zimbabwe on the 19th of May to attend the SADC Extra-Ordinary Summit on Politics, Defence and Security,” a statement signed by his press secretary read in part. This becomes the third time the president has been tested for the virus.
Wearing of masks becomes mandatory in Botswana
As part of containment measures, the wearing of home-made masks has been made obligatory in public. Data collection has also been a key plank of the response as part of contact tracing efforts.
School days are back
As the lockdown ends in Botswana, students can start prepping for having classes conducted in their classes once again as schools are also set to reopen. However, in order not be complacent, strict health protocols are to be observed as kids return for lessons.
President’s call for national prayers
President Eric Masisi’s called for national prayers in an effort to seek divine intervention against COVID-19. He asked the populace to dedicate Friday (June 5) till today (June 7) as days of prayer. He, however, stresses the need to wear masks and to observe all necessary health protocols as a means of virus spread prevention. “We are not out of woods yet. Remember to wear your masks in public and follow all the health protocols,” he said via social media.
The University of Botswana has also intensified online learning according to a bulletin by the Presidential Task Force. Whiles new regulations have been issued on the road transport permits under the Emergency COVID-19 regulations.
Lockdown measures were eased last month whiles government also zoned the country as part of virus spread containment measures. Strict health protocols and data entries have been legislated for public offices and private businesses. School also reopen this week with similar measures.
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