Ministry of Health assures the public of safety
A Chinese man was on Tuesday at the centre of scenes of chaos and confusion that broke out in Phakalane as police arrived to investigate why he was living in a warehouse.
As police swooped on the property, the Chinese national, who has since been identified as Lin Xuenyang, bolted out of a goods container parked in the warehouse and took to his heels.
Pandemonium ensued as curious but scared onlookers were torn between watching from a safe distance and arresting Xuenyang as he jumped into a Toyota Fortuner and drove off at high speed with police giving chase.
A woman, who tipped off the police from the warehouse next to where the Chinese man was hiding, has told The Voice that she became suspicious when she realised there was a man living in a container being fed through a window.
“It went on for three days. Another Chinese man would come, stand by the window, hand over food and leave only to do the same again at the next mealtime,” said the informer.
An employee at the warehouse revealed the man had arrived in the country from China on Sunday.
“We have learnt that his brother was advised to quarantine him for 14 days, but now he is out and gone after only three days,” said the concerned woman.
However, on Wednesday evening the Chief Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Doreen Motshegwa assured the public that the Chinese man was caught and put back into self-quarantine.
“We did get the tip off and went to investigate. Fortunately when we got there we found out that this is a man who got into our country legally. He was screened for Corona and it was confirmed that he did not have any signs of the virus. He was however coming from a country that was affected so we advised him to home quarantine for 14 days. We shall keep on checking on him everyday to make sure he does as advised.”
Meanwhile, the imported container caused panic and pandemonium as people complained that it might have imported the virus and demanded it be sanitized.
Dr Ntoni of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, however, assured the public that the virus only survives for 8-12hrs outside a human body or on surfaces before it dies and goods take several days to arrive here from China so the virus would have long died by the time the container arrived.
For their part, Police Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Dipheko Motube said, “As police we are ready to protect the nation mentally and logistically if the need arises.”
The Coronavirus, which broke out in Wuhan, China in December, has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Whilst the unprecedented disease has brought much of the western world to its knees, Botswana, which has not registered a single case of the virus, has readied itself for any eventuality, banning public gatherings, cancelling conferences, closing borders from countries battling the virus and mobilizing health and government officials for action.