GABORONE, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Botswana's capital city, Gaborone, was on Thursday night placed under total lockdown for a period of two weeks following an "unexpected turn" in the number of new COVID-19 cases.
Lemogang Kwape, the southern African country's minister of health and wellness, made the announcement in a televised public address via national television, Botswana Television, saying the city will go under lockdown from midnight. This follows an announcement of 30 new cases in the last 24 hours in a city of an estimated 231, 000 people, he said.
"During the course of this week, the disease has taken an unexpected turn. This now requires us to place the greater Gaborone COVID-19 zone under lockdown for a minimum period of two weeks," said Kwape. Kwape said that a period of two weeks is enough to enable health authorities to contain the disease.
With the advice of the presidential COVID-19 task force team, Kwape said the government has made the decision to lockdown the greater Gaborone. Only essential service providers will operate at 25 percent capacity, he said.
"There will be no movement within the greater Gaborone zone without a movement permit," said Kwape, adding that movement to and from greater Gaborone will be void with immediate effect. It will take great vigilance and discipline to ensure that "our containment efforts bear fruit and normalize the situation," he said.
To that end, Kwape urged people to observe all COVID-19 protocols which include washing hands with clean water and soap or sanitize as well where possible and practice social distancing of between one and two meters as well as wearing face masks to prevent the spread.
Botswana has registered 170 confirmed COVID-19 local cases and two deaths.