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Botswana ends 48-day lockdown as borders remain closed to foreign diamond buyers

21 may 2020

Botswana ended a 48-day lockdown at midnight on Wednesday, a move that will see all businesses reopen, but under strict conditions, according to media reports.
The diamond-rich Southern African country had previously allowed sectors such as mines to operate, according to Reuters.
Botswana’s latest move will not bring much joy to De Beers, which conducts monthly diamond sales in Gaborone as a ban on foreign visitors was maintained.
De Beers has so far this year conducted only two Sightholder sales in Gaborone.
It cancelled the last two Sights and provided its customers with 100% flexibility to defer their purchases. 
However, the group recently introduced a new selling proposition known as the Buy Platform, which will give its registered buyers access to diamond purchases at any time in light of the current COVID-19 situation.  
The new selling proposition, it said, was an e-commerce offering where registered buyers can make an immediate, direct and straightforward purchase from a range of rough diamonds at any time and from anywhere, providing them with a further purchase option in addition to the existing limited-time auctions offering.  
Botswana has so far recorded 29 COVID-19 infections and only one person succumbed to the virus.
"Depending on the coronavirus disease pattern, a return to lockdown will remain an option,” COVID-19 Task Force Coordinator Dr Kereng Masupu was quoted as saying in a televised briefing.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished