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Botswana on high alert as SA COVID-19 cases rise

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Botswana is on high alert as cases of COVID-19, commonly known as Coronavirus, rises in the neighbouring South Africa.

Although no case of the now declared world pandemic has been confirmed in Botswana, the country’s porous borders are posing an immediate threat and have pushed government officials into action.

“The game changer is that South Africa has changed as of yesterday from importing cases to now locally transmitting. A country poses danger when it is locally transmitting because it means the virus is now spreading within the country from person to person even among those who have not travelled otherwise,” explained head of Ngami District Health Management Team (DHMT), Dr Malebogo Kebabonye.

She was speaking this at Maun Lodge, where tourism business operators and the media met at the invitation of Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) and the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB).

The intention of the meeting was to discuss and clarify on precautions and advisory to travellers from countries affected by the pandemic.

“That remains a concern and that is where we need to contain the virus. The chances of it spreading outside the borders is very high,” Kebabonye further expressed concern over SA situation.

As of last Friday, SA confirmed 24 cases of COVID-19 within its borders and thus throwing the tourism operators into panic.

While others accused Botswana of failing to close all gaps to stop the virus from penetrating through its borders, some acknowledged a joint effort by every citizen will save the country from the looming transmissions.

“It is inevitable, when the virus is in SA, Botswana will have it. I see no way out,” one of the operators pointed out.

Nonetheless after detailing and pointing out loopholes in the government response teams’ tactics, the operators acknowledged that what is important at the end of the day is to do all possible to prevent it from hitting Botswana.

Already tourists are cancelling and postponing their visits to Botswana just as the peak season is about to begin.

Major international conferences are being cancelled and Botswana is looking at the possibility of cancelling big gatherings as well, confirmed BTO’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Myra Sekgororwane.

“The cancellations, if they are to be done, will happen three weeks before the event,” she noted.

Major events that were to take place in the country including the 2020 Forbes Under 30 Summit have been postponed and some are likely to be cancelled.

Since its outbreak late last year in China, COVID-19has claimed over 3000 lives globally, with more than 124 000 cases recorded as of this week. World Health Organisation (WHO) has even declared it a world pandemic.

As of Thursday, 12th March, 2020, Botswana had recorded 19 cumulative suspected cases of which 14 tested negative COVID-19 and 5 we awaiting laboratory results.

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Block 8 nurse challenges Covid-19 test results

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A nurse who allegedly tested positive of Covid-19 during the emergency parliament session has given the Ministry of Health and Wellness up to next week Tuesday to respond to his legal demands as he believes that the test results were fake.

The victim, Morobi Dinao, a nurse at Block 8 Gaborone has made demands that the ministry give him signed results by the person who carried out the laboratory tests.

Dinao was diagnosed at a special parliament sitting in April, his supposed positive results leading to all MPs and those who attended the session to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine.

According to legal documents from Ndadi law firm, the 37-year-old nurse was admitted at Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital on the 9th of April after he was told he tested positive.

On the 13th he demanded to see his results but was sent from pillar to post and the hospital could not give him the results.

He kept on demanding his results and on the 19th of April he was shown the results through his glass door from outside by one Dr Feledi.

Dinao allegedly asked for a copy of the results but the Doctor said he would revert to him after consulting with his superiors.

He was given his results when he was discharged on the 24th of April.

There was no explanation of the results and the document was also not signed hence the suspicion that they were not authentic.

Some of the things that made him suspicious, he says, are that the specimen submission form that carries his results is markedly from the one he completed on the day of tests.

He says the form does not have the laboratory personnel signature portion yet the one he duly completed had it.

The demands are that MOH should give an account of the delay of initial results.

Dinao’s lawyer, Uyapo Ndadi, told The Voice Online that they are awaiting response to their client’s demands before they can take the next step.

“I do not understand how a doctor can seek for his superior’s permission to give a patient his own results. How do you get admitted without seeing your results and told we are following the instructions to admit you? A lot is questionable in the whole scenario,” said Ndadi.

Ndadi further said he’ll await his client’s instruction before considering any court action.

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No water supply in Maun this weekend

*Main water pipe raptured at Nxaraga

*70% water supply shut down for maintenance work

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Most parts of Maun and surrounding areas are expected to experience a dry spell this weekend as the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) cuts water supply for the next two days.

The department’s head of business, Thabo Ndadi, explained that seventy percent supply of water in and around Maun will be shut down to allow for maintenance of main water pipe to the area.

“This week we discovered that our main water pipe that brings in water from Kunyere boreholes has raptured and thus unable to adequately supply water,” explained Ndadi.

Ndadi further confirmed that they started noticing the leak last month but avoided tempering with it as it was during the lockdown and when the country had just reported first cases of the killer Covid-19 disease.

“Our hope and prayer was that the leak would not become so bad before the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency, but the water pressure has gone down and therefore we have to fix the problem and we cannot do it without temporarily cutting the flow,” added Ndadi.

Seventy percent of water supply in Maun is from boreholes along Kunyere river in Nxaraga area, while the other two boreholes in Shashe and Sexaxa make up the remaining thirty percent.

“This effectively means Maun will be running with a seventy percent water shortage and we are pleading with members of the community to use water with extra care,” Ndadi added.

In fact some areas will go dry for over 24 hours and WUC has advised people to store water for weekend use today because from tomorrow, taps will be completely dry. “Many other homes will get water way beyond the 24 hours, because after maintenance the water has to make a long journey to reach the taps, for some it will take 48 hours or so. In fact the whole recovery process takes seven days so, it may be practically impossible to complete the recovery within 24 hours.”

Meanwhile Thamalakane river has started to fill up, but the WUC water treatment plant in Borolong is yet to start pumping water from the river as they have to wait for at least a month for the water “to be of better quality to be processed for consumption. Right now the water volume is still low for such an exercise but the plant is ready to start operations. Already we have begun testing the water for quality and it not yet where we want it to be,” Ndadi said.

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