COVID-19: Botswana Tightens Restrictions Amid Rising Death Toll

The Republic of Botswana, which has one of the world’s highest COVID-19 infection rates per capita has announced new COVID-19 restrictions including an extension of a nighttime curfew and postponement of the reopening of schools.

In a televised address, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the country was seeing an exponential increase in COVID-19 cases.

According to him, “the disease burden is weighing heavily on us, with infections continuing to increase across the country, and precious lives being lost on a daily basis here at home and across the continent,” Masisi said. “Our nation has attained the highest prevalence ever.”

By Friday, 1,973 people had died of COVID-19, with the death toll rising from about 300 in February.

He added that “Interzonal movement continues to be restricted to essential travel only,” “Reopening of schools [will] be delayed for a further three weeks, except for those students preparing for their final examinations. The ban on the sale of alcohol remains. The curfew will now start earlier at 8 p.m. and end at 4 a.m. for the next three weeks, after which there will be a review.”

Masisi said the country would accelerate its vaccination program in the next three weeks. About 5 percent of the population, or 146,299 people, are fully vaccinated.

This week, Botswana took its first delivery from Johnson & Johnson, with 108,000 COVID vaccine doses arriving. The country also received 38,400 doses of Astra Zeneca vaccine on August 8.

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