Botswana suspends inter-zonal movements amid COVID-19 surge

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi (front) speaks at a past function. /VCG

The government of Botswana has announced a suspension of inter-zonal movements as the south African nation grapples with the latest wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

In a notice signed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi, the government said the order took effect immediately and listed persons who may apply for exemptions.

FILE PHOTO: Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi (front) speaks at a past function. /VCG

Essential service providers and persons with medical emergencies and those accompanying/assisting them can apply for exemptions. Additionally, people attending a funeral of an immediate family member and those wishing to access a farm, ranch, garden, ploughing field or cattle post will also be allowed to apply.

The notice added that a person who had travelled across COVID-19 zones with a valid movement permit prior to the publication of the notice may return before the expiration of the movement permit.

Earlier this week, Masisi announced a decision to close schools for a month on Friday until August 17 as the country battles its deadliest COVID-19 wave.

Like several African countries, Botswana was facing a challenge of vaccine shortage.

Although the uncertain availability of vaccines makes it difficult for the country’s vaccine rollout plan to go on smoothly, the government remains hopeful to have all those eligible to be vaccinated by the end of 2022, according to Masisi.

Botswana has reported more than 86,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,200 deaths.