Director of Health Services, Dr Malebogo Kebabonye, says Maun has been detected as a hot spot for new variant dubbed the South African 501.V2.
Dr Kebabonye made the revelation this week when addressing the nation on Botswana’s preparedness in dealing with the pandemic.
“We have detected an unusual spread pattern observed in the Maun area which led us to believe that it is the new variant similar to the one is South Africa being the 501.V2,” she said.
The Director of Health Services however revealed that their investigation do not show the extent to which the country is affected. “Case investigation confirmed that the new variant is present within the population. Further investigations reveal that the variant did not affect the Maun cluster only but has also been detected in other areas. The investigations did not conclude the extent of the penetration but only that it is present,” she said.
According to Kebabonye, the new variant is highly transmissible than the old variant.
She further stated that the new variant does increase the severity of the disease but what remains is the symptoms or presentation of the disease in individuals.
“The implication of the finding in Botswana is that potential increase of cases will put unnecessary pressure on the health system. If this happens we may end up losing more lives. It needs to be stressed that its important to take preventative measures as previously communicated,” she stressed further.
Turning to handling of the dead affected by Covid-19, Kebabonye advised for strict handling of the corpses and cautioned against viewing of corpses affected by the disease.
“Any corpse has the potential to spread the disease. It is important to limit contact with dead bodies. Corpses with active disease are required to be buried within 72 hours, ” she said.
According to the latest statistics, as of January 8 2021, there are currently 1474 active cases with 13 310 recoveries. With a total of 59 related deaths.