GABORONE, July 30 (Reuters) - Botswana's capital city Gaborone returned to a two-week lockdown from midnight on Thursday to stem the latest local coronavirus surge in the country, an official said.
Under new rules for the capital and surrounding areas, only essential workers would be able to leave home for work, with others only able to leave the house to buy groceries. All gatherings will be banned and hotels, restaurants, gyms and schools will close.
Botswana ended a national lockdown on June 15, allowing businesses and schools to reopen under strict conditions, as the country was recording most of its cases at border points from truck drivers bringing goods into the landlocked country from South Africa.
The diamond-rich country is now experiencing a surge in local transmission cases, with most infections coming from schools in the greater Gabarone region, coordinator of the COVID-19 Task force team, Kereng Masupu, said in a televised briefing.
“During the course of the week the disease has taken an unprecedented turn which now required we place the Greater Gaborone region under lockdown to enable our containment measures to take hold,” Masupu added.
Botswana’s local transmission cases have almost doubled to 140 from 71 registered on July 13, while total cases stand at just over 800. Of those, 664 were mostly from foreign truck drivers who have since been sent back to their countries of origin. (Reporting by Brian Benza; editing by Richard Pullin)