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FILE: President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi talks to China's President Xi Jinping (not pictured) during their bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Aug. 31, 2018.

Botswana, one of the few countries in Africa without a confirmed case of coronavirus, has moved to secure its borders after neighboring Zimbabwe recorded its first coronavirus-related death on Monday.

Soldiers will be watching border crossings, but authorities say Zimbabweans who use unauthorized entry points present a real challenge.

Botswana’s government announced Tuesday it was closing all border crossing points with immediate effect.

Botswana’s Vice President Slumber Tsogwane addressed the nation on state television.

"The movement of people visiting neighboring countries including Lesotho and Swaziland is restricted. His excellency the President recently undertook an emergency official trip to Namibia to seize the presence of other regional heads of state to discuss critical COVID-19 measures taken in respect of countries sharing borders with Botswana," said Tsogwane.

The closures will remain in place until further notice. Citizens will be allowed to return home, but must submit to a 14-day quarantine.

The move came a day after Zimbabwe registered the region’s first coronavirus-related death.

Soldiers are being deployed to watch border crossings. However, authorities say it will be difficult to prevent all illegal entries. Many Zimbabweans coming into Botswana use unauthorized entry points.

Botswana Defense Force official Khumo Morwagabuse said Monday that the situation could undermine efforts to keep out the coronavirus.

In 2018, Botswana deported nearly 29,000 illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe.

Gaborone resident Khumo Tlhakane said Botswana should now move to curb illegal immigration.

"Now our greatest threat is the border jumpers. They do not go through the same screening process like everyone who comes into Botswana. Now the government should step up and increase their measures, the soldiers should do more patrols," said Tlhakane.

Botswana also has to keep an eagle eye on South Africa, which had recorded more than 500 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday.

However, the number of border jumpers from South Africa and Botswana’s other neighbors is usually small.

FILE - A medical staff member wears protective equipment while closing a window at the Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare, March 11, 2020.

Doctors in Zimbabwe are calling for stronger government support after the country's first death related to the coronavirus.

Thirty-year-old Zororo Makamba, a well-known TV broadcaster, died last Sunday at Wilkins Hospital in Harare. His family issued a statement Monday saying that the hospital, which the government named as the country's main coronavirus treatment center, lacks basic equipment such as oxygen and medical drugs for COVID-19 patients.

The concerns were echoed Tuesday by Dr. Sacrifice Chirisa, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Medical Association.

Charisa said Wilkins Hospital needs to be better equipped and that medical staff need more protection from the virus.

"We are applying for an urgent supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, as soon as possible. Let's move the levers of power, let's talk to our neighbors, let's talk to our all-weather friends. We need PPE if we are to fight COVID (19) and manage effectively," Charisa said.

Makamba had recently traveled to the United States and returned from New York two weeks before his death, according to his family.

On Monday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa partially closed Zimbabwe's borders in an effort to limit people's exposure to COVID-19.

He said the government is taking steps to give medical staff greater support.

"I am also aware of things which continue being raised by our health personnel who are in the frontline of fighting this pandemic," Mnangagwa said. "They continue to deliver services at great personal risk. They deserve our support. They must be rewarded. To that end, I have ordered the release of additional funding towards procurement of safety clothing to be flown into the country."

Mnangagwa did not indicate when the equipment would be procured.

For years, critics have said the government neglects Zimbabwe's health sector. They fear Zimbabwe will turn into another epicenter of COVID-19.

In the past, the United States and European Union have stepped in with equipment and drugs when Zimbabwe was hit by outbreaks of waterborne cholera and typhoid.

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