Botswana’s COVID-19 daily infection rate has doubled in two months as the COVID-19 Task Force braces for an anticipated super-spreading festive season. The latest report by the Task Force indicates a sharply rising curve of Coronavirus infections. The daily recorded cases hovered just above a hundred as recently as October 2020.The latest statistics however paint a worrying trend in the daily infection rate, indicating a 100 percent increase over just a couple of weeks. Botswana recorded 789 positive cases in the four days between November 26 and 29, representing up to 200 daily cases.
Task Force Scientific Adviser Dr Mogomotsi Matshaba revealed last week that they were expecting the numbers to stay above 190 cases per day given the latest trend. “It is concerning that we are noticing an upward trend in the number of cases,” he said. In mid-October the Task Force recorded 367 new cases in three days between October 14 and 16, 2020 accounting for about 120 daily infections. The trend remained just over 100 in the following three weeks leading up the latest update. Of the 789 cases most recent reported cases, Dr Matshaba said, 758 were residents while just 31 were recorded at the ports of entry.
The Task Force have attributed the surge in local Coronavirus cases to the public’s failure to comply with the protocols. Botswana went to great lengths to keep the virus beyond borders in the early months following the world wide break of the pandemic. It has proved an impossible feat. While the ports of entry initially accounted for most of the positive cases the attention has now shifted, with local transmissions now accounting for nearly 100 percent of confirmed cases.
The Task Force do not anticipate the curve to flatten any time soon. “It is difficult to say when the curve will flatten given the current trend. We can only hope to behave well until a vaccine arrives,” Dr Matshaba said this past week. Botswana had registered a total 11,531 confirmed cases according to the latest update. There were 8,978 recoveries, 998 active cases and 34 deaths. President Mokgweetsi Masisi warned about the surge in Botswana’s COVID-19 infections recently, saying it was regrettable that the country has experienced an exponential rise in local transmissions after the lifting of movement restrictions earlier this year, mainly, in the most affected Greater Gaborone Zone. “Particularly disturbing, is that since July the number of local transmission cases surpassed the number of imported ones,” Masisi said.
He called COVID-19 a national health and security threat. More than ever, Masisi said, it has become necessary to strengthen Botswana’s response to the pandemic given the country’s fragile and limited resources. In his more recent State of the Nation Address President Masisi said in their efforts to address the COVID-19 challenges, the government has set up porta cabins at six ports of entry, being Mamuno, Martins Drift, Ramatlabama, Ramokgwebana, Kazungula and Pioneer Gate, to facilitate testing, sample storage and the temporary holding of suspected cases. “Government has also procured and installed thermos-scanners to facilitate screening at border gates in Ramatlabama, Martins Drift, Pioneer and Tlokweng.
These have greatly contributed to the early detection and isolation of COVID-19 suspected cases and significantly reduced long queues. Government has further identified, 53 maintained or converted various facilities across the regions or zones into isolation centers to admit patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.”