Activities have been halted in Gaborone, Botswana, after a lockdown was reinstated in the city June 12, 2020. (Mqondisi Dube/VOA
Activities have been halted in Gaborone, Botswana, after a lockdown was reinstated in the city June 12, 2020. (Mqondisi Dube/VOA)

GABORONE, BOTSWANA - Botswana’s director of health services, Dr Malaki Tshipayagae, announced Friday that the capital, Gaborone, will return to extreme lockdown after eight new COVID-19 cases at a private hospital.

“We are concerned because we did not know if it is a communal infection or a hospital-acquired infection, or [it] indicates significant local transmission, or whether there is some form of contamination at the facility,” Tshipayagae said. “As a result, because of those factors, or unknowns, we have decided to shut down or lock down Greater Gaborone.” 

A further four imported cases were reported Friday, bringing the country’s COVID-19 tally to 60.

Tshipayagae said the army and police would resume patrols, effective Friday midnight.

“Movement of people will be through a permit and there would be patrols to ensure that rules are adhered to.” 

People going about their activities in Gaborone, Botswana, before authorities announced the city's return to lockdown on June 12, 2020. (Mqondisi Dube/VOA)

Most economic activities had resumed as the diamond-rich country emerged from a seven-week lockdown that ended May 21.

Schools had reopened but will now close in Gaborone and surrounding areas until further notice.

Gaborone resident Mpho Marumo said the latest development is a drawback.

“It’s quite disappointing really,” Marumo said. “We were looking forward to... the schools, the kids. It’s a really big setback, the schools had reopened and now closed.”

Prior to Friday’s 12 cases, Botswana only had one active case. The country has recorded one COVID-19 death.

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