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Francistown schools Coronavirus scare

Francistown schools Coronavirus scare
CONCERNED: BOSETU President Radikolo

BOSETU worried about rising Covid-19 cases in F-town schools #Seven students test positive at Francistown Secondary School

Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) President, Winston Radikolo has expressed concern at the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in schools across the country.

Radikolo told The Voice in an exclusive interview that they fear that the number of positive cases may double or triple before the end of term on September 26th.

The BOSETU President revealed that seven students at Francistown Senior School tested positive and are currently in isolation.

“This was confirmed by the District Health Management Team (DHMT) who addressed the school on Monday and Tuesday,” disclosed Radiokolo, adding he was worried about the way the relevant Ministries have responded to the cases in Francistown.

“You can come to FSS right now. It’s business as usual! We were told 10 students were tested and seven turned out to be positive. Our worry is that those positive students came into contact with the teaching staff and other students who continue to access shops and other public places,” blasted the fiery unionist.

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In a statement released by Greater Francistown DHMT Coordinator Bayengemali Munyere this past Friday, 11 suspected Covid-19 patients were admitted at Ntshe Isolation Centre and six of them tested positive while five were still awaiting their results. Of the six, a fatality, a 71-year-old female whose Covid-19 test was conducted posthumously, was recorded.

According to Munyere, two students from Setlalekgosi and Materspei College, and a teacher from Setlalekgosi were amongst the isolated, while contact tracing continued.

DHMT Coordinator said the environmental assessment was concluded and the disinfection of areas where the affected individuals had been in contact was recommended.

Radikolo, however, painted a completely different picture. The unionist said he was not happy with the response by the Task Force team.

“In Gaborone when both Ledumang Senior and Phillip Moshotle Primary schools registered one case each the schools were immediately sealed off and closed. Here life has been going on normally even though we have seven confirmed cases. This is not right. It’s risky for both teachers and students,” charged Radikolo.

The BOSETU President said his worry is students generally walk in groups and are friends and neighbours with students from other schools, which creates a fertile ground for further spreading of the virus.

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“When the DHMT addressed us, they told us that the 10 students who were tested had shared a combi with one of the students from a different school who had tested positive. This just shows how quickly this virus spreads, especially among students,” he warned.

Radikolo said he suspects the ministries involved are only concerned with finishing the school term, which comes to an end on 26 September, disregarding the health of both students and teachers in the process.

As of the 12 September, Botswana had a total of 1, 350 confirmed local cases, 764 of which were active. The country had confirmed 575 recoveries and 11 deaths, of which one was from Francistown.

There were, however, unconfirmed reports of a second death in the second city this week.

However, Director of Health Services Dr Malaki Tshipayagae told The Voice he was not aware of a second Covid-19 related death in Ghetto.

Dr Tshipayagae said he was still waiting for a formal report on the number of cases in Francistown. The Voice had wanted to know if Francistown can now be considered a red zone, but he said, ‘red zone’ was not an expression they use but admitted to being concerned at the ‘increasing burden of disease’ in the second city.

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“As for schools closure, there’s no reason to close any school on account of having a case nowadays as it was done in the past since we now have Covid-19 protocols in place,” Tshipayagae said.

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