Botswana eases COVID-19 restriction measures

A teacher checks the body temperature of a student before she goes to the classroom in Gaborone, capital of Botswana, June 2, 2020. /Xinhua/Tshekiso Tebalo

Botswana has eased some of the restriction measures put in place to avert the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

This has been attributed to a decline in the number of active and daily COVID-19 cases in the country.

Botswana has also witnessed a significant decrease in hospital admissions with a 70% decline in patients admitted in the COVID-19 treatment facilities.

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

In his national address on COVID-19, President Mokgweetsi Masisi announced that the curfew will now be from 10 pm to 4am.

President Masisi also said that: all public gatherings, including weddings will be reinstated while following COVID-19 health protocols.

The number of people at religious gatherings and church services remain at a maximum of 50, and such gatherings and services be held twice a week.

Schools will be reopened as planned.

The ban on the sale of alcohol will be lifted and allowed on a take away basis. Inter-zonal movement however continues to be restricted to essential travel only.

Funerals will be conducted within a period of 5 days from the date of death and should continue to follow all established COVID-19 protocols.

The President also announced that the government will not extend the State of Public Emergency when it lapses at the end of September 30th.

Masisi however cautioned that even as they ease the restrictions, people should be cognizant of the recent detection of the new C.1.2 COVID-19 variant in the country.

“This new highly mutated variant could lead to a resurgence of new infections which could possibly usher in the fourth wave.” The President said.

He also announced that the total number of vaccines expected in September, together with those that have been received thus far in the country, will mean that by the end of October 2021, 975,782 Botswana will be fully vaccinated, translating to 64% of the target population being fully vaccinated.

“1,009,974 doses, comprising Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna are expected to be delivered during the month of September. This number includes the 404,494 doses of Sinovac due to arrive this Sunday.”