The Botswana government has adjusted its national lockdown regulations and extended both the times and the duration of the curfew. The announcement was made on Botswana television by the country’s Minister of Health, Dr Edwin Dikoloti.

Dr Dikoloti said President Mokgweetsi Masisi approved the extension of the lockdown.

“His Excellency, President Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, has approved the extension of the travel restrictions, imposed under the emergency powers regulation from the fourth of January, to the 31st of January 2021. The extension is in accordance with regulation 5 (1 and 4) of emergency powers COVID-19 regulations of 2020.”

The Minister said curfews would be imposed while essential service workers will be required to carry permits.

“And with evidence submitted to His Excellency the President by the director of Health Services that the risks posed by COVID-19 have increased in Botswana. The restrictions or curfew will apply from 8PM to 4AM daily. Essential service workers will be required to carry permits to travel during periods where movement is restricted.”

Restrictions on alcohol

Dr Dikoloti said under the new lockdown, there would be restrictions on movement, including the suspension on the sale of alcohol.

“During the restriction on movement, the following shall apply with immediate effect: the sale of alcohol is suspended. Consumption of liquor in public places is also suspended.”

New strain

Meanwhile, the government has notified the public that the new strain of the COVID-19 virus, known as 501V2 variant, has been detected in Botswana.

“The public is informed that it has become evident that the number of COVID-19 cases in Botswana continues to rise. In addition, the new strain of the virus, which was first reported in South Africa, has now been detected in Botswana. The 501V2 variant was detected by South African authorities in mid-December and is easily transmissible.”

The Minister has cautioned people against disregarding COVID-19 protocols, mainly by travellers during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

He urged the public to abide by COVID-19 prevention protocols, especially in view of the detection if the new strain.

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