Botswana ends it's 48-day coronavirus lockdown

Updated: May 22, 2020

President Mokgweetsi Masisi (Photo: AP)

Botswana has ended it’s lockdown after gradually relaxing restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

All businesses and schools will be able to reopen under government guidelines, including individual temperature checks, use of face masks and regular sanitising.

As part of the containment strategy, the country has been divided into 9 Covid-19 zones to restrict the movement of people; allow swift responses in the event of an aggressive outbreak.

Dr Kereng Masupu, the Covid-19 Task Force coordinator said that depending on the coronavirus disease pattern, a return to lockdown will remain an option.

Meanwhile, residences returning to the country will undergo mandatory quarantine and the ban of foreign visitors remains in place.

Botswana confirmed 29 infections and one death. However, the economy has been greatly impacted by the outbreak with GDP estimated to contract by 13% in 2020 while the budget deficit is set to double.

Botswana's government set aside more than $400 million to help absorb the economic impact of businesses suspending operations, including the prized diamond industry, which had no buyers coming into the country because of travel restrictions. The central bank has also cut interest rates and halved the primary Reserve Requirements (PRR) for commercial banks.