Lockdown expected for Botswana as it records its first 3 Covid-19 cases

2020-03-31 07:56

Botswana has confirmed its first cases of Covid-19 coronavirus infections, which will see the country up its precautionary measures.

A lockdown announcement is expected from President Mokgweetsi Masisi when he addresses the nation this morning.

Botswana’s health minister, Dr Lemogang Kwape, took to the country’s national broadcaster BTV last night and announced that three people had tested positive for the deadly virus.

“Two males and a female tested positive. Two of three went to Thailand while the other one went to the UK,” Kwape said.

He said Botswana had, in the past three weeks, preached prevention even though it had not recorded a single positive Covid-19 case. But things had changed, he said, and the country had moved to a simultaneous “prevention and containment” stage.

As part of its preventive measures, Botswana banned the sale of alcohol for 30 days on Saturday.

The government said yesterday on social media platforms that it had 1 901 people in quarantine. Of the suspected cases, 90 results came back negative and 166 results were pending.

It was not clear whether the three people who tested positive had been in quarantine.

The government of Botswana last week started forcing people who were coming from other countries into a 14-day quarantine period.

They were only released from quarantine once they had tested negative for the virus at the end of the period.

President Masisi would also end his 14-day self-isolation after he attended a meeting in Namibia more than a week ago.

Meanwhile, Masisi is expected to announce stricter control measures of movement, public transport and shopping after he warned of an "imminent lockdown" last week. 

Masisi wrote on Facebook after the announcement of three Covid-19 cases last night: “We have been preparing for this eventuality. The measures we have so far put into place have seen us become one of the last few nations on earth to have confirmed cases of Covid-19,” he said.

“Now that we have the first confirmed cases, our action plan will firmly fall into place. [Today] at 9am I will address the nation on this discovery, and what our plan of action to keep our people safe shall be like.

“Please take precautions as you always have done and do not panic. I repeat that we do not panic and, most importantly, follow the given instructions by the health authorities. We have a plan and this plan, as I will announce it, shall see us through.”

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May 31 2020