Botswana declares state of emergency, lockdown in wake of COVID-19 cases
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said that he wanted the state of emergency to be more than the 21 days stipulated in the constitution, therefore he would call parliament to decide how much longer it would be in force.
JOHANNESBURG - Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi has declared a state of emergency following confirmation of three coronavirus cases in that country.
He has also announced a lockdown beginning 2 April for 28 days.
Masisi said that he wanted the state of emergency to be more than the 21 days stipulated in the constitution, therefore he would call parliament to decide how much longer it would be in force.
He has also detailed a raft of financial interventions that include a loan repayment holiday of between three and six months for home and vehicle loans.
Botswana’s President Masisi tested negative for COVID-19 following a trip to Namibia but after three cases were confirmed on Monday, he has declared a state of emergency.
"Under the Emergency Powers Act, the president can make such regulations as appear to him to be necessary for amongst others securing the public's safety and the defence of the republic."
Masisi said that the 2 billion pula COVID-19 relief fund would go towards a wage subsidy for workers, guarantee loans by commercial banks and to give credit to businesses that can't get it from banks, as well as tax concessions.
"Banks have agreed to offer restructuring of loan facilities this will owner-occupied residential mortgage properties and motor vehicle loans. All commercial banks will offer a payment holiday for three months with the option to extend to 6 months."
He said that the country would also build up reserves including grain, water, medical supplies and fuel. He said fuel prices would be reduced as they had dropped globally.