On Tuesday, May 5, Batswana authorities announced plans to ease nationwide lockdown measures from Friday, May 8, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Businesses and schools will be permitted to reopen as long as they adhere to strict government guidelines. The sale of alcohol and cigarettes will remain prohibited until further notice. Individuals will also be permitted to travel to attend the funeral of an immediate family member or to access a farm, while nonessential travel remains banned. Authorities had earlier announced that the use of face masks in public is mandatory, and those who do not respect the measures will be subject to fines.
Previously, Batswana authorities extended the ongoing nationwide 24-hour lockdown until Thursday, May 7. The lockdown stipulates that individuals must stay at home at all time and need a travel permit to buy essential supplies. President Mokgweetsi Masisi also announced that two weeks of 'sequentially easing' the restrictions would begin after the extended lockdown measures expire.
Additionally, authorities indefinitely suspended all international and domestic commercial flights. The country's land borders have been closed since Tuesday, March 24, with the exception of cargo transportation. Any returning citizen or resident will be subjected to a 14-day quarantine period.
As of Wednesday, May 6, there are 23 confirmed COVID-19 cases and one related fatality nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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