Botswana has two more confirmed COVID-19 cases
Botswana has recorded two more cases of corona virus, bringing to six the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. This was confirmed yesterday by Botswana’s Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Lemogang Kwape on the state broadcaster, Botswana TV. Out of the six confirmed COVID-19 cases in Botswana, on e has succumbed to the virus. The remaining five are reportedly stable and under observation at Sir Ketumile Masire Training Hospital in Gaborone.
Minister Kwape revealed the latest confirmed cases are a 27-year-old man and his female companion, also aged 27.
The man reportedly flew in from Britain via Ethiopian Airline on March 21 and was put under home quarantine. He was then tested on March 28 after showing signs of COVID-19 and then admitted to Scottish Livingstone Hospital in Molepolole.
Dr Kwape said the ministry has ‘contact traced’ 46 people the two are known to have made contact with.
Botswana is on day 4 of a 28-day lockdown, after President Mokgweetsi Masisi declared a state of emergency to help curb the spread of coronavirus. President Masisi himself came out of a 14-day self-quarantine last week and has tested negative for COVID-19. Masisi went into self-isolation after travelling to Namibia to attend the country’s 30th independence celebrations and swearing-in of Namibian President Hage Geingob.
President Masisi worried over low testing rate
President Masisi says he is concerned by the low rate of testing in the country especially after the influx of Botswana citizens returning from high-risk countries. He says this prompted the decision to impose the 28-day lockdown from April 2, 2020.
During the lockdown, residents and nationals will be severely restricted in their movements, while all essential service workers will have to obtain permits from the government. A COVID-19 relief fund has also be established to provide psycho-social support, which also includes measures to help stabilise businesses and ensure the availability of strategic supplies.
The government will also issue subsidies to supplement private sector employee wages.
Over 2,000 in Quarantine
The Ministry of Health and Wellness says a total of 291 people are on home quarantine and 2 001 on mandatory quarantine at different centres around the country since the outbreak. Briefing the media in Gaborone on Friday, the Health Ministry’s Public Health Specialist, Dr Lebapotswe Tlale said the ministry was concerned about people who travelled to their home villages on the eve of the state of public emergency and extreme social distancing (Thursday night).
Dr Tlale said it would have been prudent for people to stay where they were to allow the 28-day extreme social distancing period to elapse.
“As you might know, we have cases of people who recently travelled outside Botswana before the mandatory quarantine was announced and were placed in home quarantine. Unfortunately, there is the likelihood that some people who were placed in home quarantine will make contact with people in the rural areas, most of whom are the elderly above the age of 65 and prone to the virus,” he said.