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Botswana declares state of emergency

Botswana’s president Mokgweetsi Masisi has declared a state of emergency until further notice following the confirmation of three coronavirus cases in the southern African country.

Rather than the 21-days allocated to a state of emergency in the constitution, Masisi said it “would not be sufficient to employ the necessary measures to fight this pandemic”.

He also announced a lockdown for 28 days starting on Thursday.

“The threat to Botswana has escalated considerably in view of the fact that our neighbouring countries have seen a rapid rise in confirmed cases, some of which have resulted in fatalities,” he said.

“The other challenge is the low rate of testing of suspected cases in Botswana and cumbersome health protocols. The return of some of our citizens and residents from high-risk countries has also escalated the threat of the virus in our country.”

Of those countries reporting cases, Botswana has the least in Africa along with Somalia and Liberia.

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