Botswana reinstates strict COVID-19 lockdown in capital city

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Botswana has reinstated a strict COVID-19 lockdown in its capital city, Gaborone, and surrounding areas after reporting 12 new infections.

The Southern African country ended a 48-day nationwide lockdown late May, allowing businesses and schools to reopen under strict measures, but its borders are still closed to travelers excluding citizens returning home and imports of essential goods.

Malaki Tshipayagae, the country’s director of health services, said in a televised announcement late on Friday that officials had recorded four new imported cases at its borders and eight at a private hospital in Gaborone, bringing cumulative cases to 60.

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

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, with real gross domestic product seen contracting 13% this year while the budget deficit could more than double.