No negative test, no entry
Having done well to contain the spread of Covid-19, Botswana suffered a setback this week when a truck driver from South Africa, who entered the country on Saturday to deliver goods, tested positive for the virus.
Although the driver’s body temperature is said to have been fine when he was scanned at Tlokweng border, his results came back the following day and showed he had the virus.
He became the 24th confirmed case in Botswana, although only six remain active, with 17 recoveries and one death (as of Wednesday evening) .
Despite the low numbers, the news was a reminder of the lurking danger.
Indeed, contact tracing identified 150 people that came into contact with the truck driver, causing government to enforce a two-day lockdown (Tuesday and Wednesday) on Gaborone.
In light of the scare, The Voice’s DANIEL CHIDA talked to a selection of politicians, business people and union leaders to get their opinions on how best to avoid a similar scenario happening again.
What happened should be a wake-up call for us because if we do not act fast we will end up reversing everything that we worked hard for.
We have to introduce rapid testing that can produce results immediately or the following day. We shouldn’t let drivers without results into the country.
With so many unregulated infrared thermometers we cannot rely only on body temperatures but all tests.
We have to disinfect the coming trucks but most importantly keep the drivers in quarantine until the results are out.
One thing that we have to know is that we rely on South Africa for supplies and we cannot close our borders.
The other option is to take our goods at the border without interaction with the delivery team from South Africa.
The Umbrella for Democratic Change has been disturbed by the latest reported case which involved a truck driver.
Because of our over dependence on other countries for basics, we cannot stop these trucks coming in to deliver such goods.
This incident calls for change of approach in dealing with the virus.
Firstly the trucks should be heavily disinfected before crossing into the country.
Secondly, all the drivers should only be allowed to proceed with their journey after being quarantined and tested.
We learn from the recent case that the test results come out after only one day.
In terms of urgent or perishable goods delivery, a driver exchange can happen at the border.
This will come at a huge cost, both financial and social, but no effort and resources should be spared in the fight against this disease!
The consequences of short cut measures in dealing with the pandemic are too ghastly to contemplate.
We need as a country to make sacrifices at a personal and national level.
As stated before, Covid-19 is a global pandemic, which is not only a medical issue but a socio-economic matter as well.
It is our greatest desire that we all join hands and collectively defeat Covid-19.
This we must do for the safety of our people.
Some efforts put by Government have to some extent assisted to control the spread of the virus, but overall they have not managed the Coronavirus epidemic well.
It is only that the situation has not been bad because of our geographical and economic advantage in that we did not have massive trade movement of people to our country from cities of the Western countries who are highly affected.
This particular case with a truck driver demonstrates pathetic failure.
Why are they allowing people to move around while test results are outstanding?
No one should cross into the country while the status of their corona has not been established to be negative.
First, it was the nurse who exposed MPs, now the truck driver.
They don’t even learn!
Majority of our people are locked-up and hungry, while the ruling elite are lining their pockets with tenders.
Nurses are denied requisite PPEs and even have to go court.
Workers are denied salary increment and overtime claims.
All truck drivers who cross over to South Africa should be mandated to wear a GPS wearable device that they can’t take off in order to make sure they don’t mingle with the general public.
The authorities can track their movements in real time and know exactly where they have been for contact tracing.