Thursday, August 13, 2020

Botswana may have reached its COVID-19 peak

With no new case for over a week, and recoveries now outstripping new infections, Botswana may have passed its worst phase of the dreaded Coronavirus. Government this week introduced new regulations to ease the five week long lockdown as the nation looks to return to normal business by the end of May 2020. The recent ease of regulations has been inspired by the lack of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 coupled with a growing number of recoveries.Of the 23 reported cases, nine had already recovered at the time of going to press, leaving the total of active cases at 12.

There had been one reported case of COVID-19 death involving the Ramotswa old woman who had allegedly tested positive following a trip to Motswedi, South Africa.The COVID-19 Task Force Coordinator Dr. Kereng Masupu however insists the country may not necessarily be out of the woods yet.“As is characteristic with this type of epidemic, a new peak in confirmed cases may occur,” he says.“As of today, we are on the down slope from our peak. It remains to be seen whether new cases will be detected especially as neighboring countries unlock and Batswana citizens plan to return home.” The introduction of COVID-19 into Botswana through importation, Masupu says, reached its peak at three weeks into the government’s lockdown.

The number of cases increased significantly as a result of locally transmitted cases.  As things stand, Masupu says, they do not expect to record any more COVID-19 casualties. “None of our patients are in a clinical condition that puts them at risk of succumbing to the infection. As of today, we are not expecting any of our COVID-19 patients to experience severe illness.”With other countries such as neighboring South Africa continuing to record escalating cases Masupu warns it may take longer for Botswana to return to normalcy.“Given what is happening in other parts of the world which recorded COVID-19 cases before us, we do not anticipate life to return to normal any time soon. It is currently unknown whether COVID-19 will disappear after sometime or remain active (all the time or intermittently) in the human population.

For a new condition that is only four months old, it remains to be seen what the new normal will be,” The Task Force Coordinator tells Sunday Standard. Botswana’s ports of entry villages and towns are likely to register the next cases from imported COVID-19. They include Gaborone, Francistown, Kasane, Maun, Ghanzi and other border communities.The Task Force says there remains grave concern about re-emergence of COVID-19 in places that have not registered cases, or re-emergence of COID-19 in places that had eliminated their first few cases.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

SEZA guns for job creation

By removing barriers to trade, restrictive policies and excessive bureaucracy, the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) hopes to attract top shelf investors...