Friday, April 3, 2020

Fears German company might have imported coronavirus

There is panic at the government enclave that some employees of Kromberg & Schubert Botswana – a German company – who had travelled to Germany returned showing signs of the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health was not immediately available to verify the veracity of such claims.

While the company confirmed that some of its employees had recently returned from an official trip from Germany, the company was quick to deny that the employees in question exhibited symptoms of coronavirus.

Botswana recently listed Germany among 18 high-risk countries and imposed a travel ban on people entering from such that country and others. 

“All individuals coming to Botswana from China, Japan, Iran, the United States of America (US), United Kingdom (UK), Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and India will not be allowed entry,” the government announced recently in a statement in an effort to prevent the transmission and spread of Coronavirus.

According to sources at the government enclave, upon their arrival from Germany the employees were screened and taken to Block 8 clinic which is one of the facilities designated for quarantining of suspected cases of coronavirus. They claimed that this was after they exhibited signs related to the virus.

Immediate comment from Public Relations in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Doreen Motshegwa was not available on Friday.

Permanent Secretary in the same Ministry Solomon’s mobile phone rang unanswered.

Responding to Sunday Standard enquiries,   Pako Tsimanyana, Human Resources Manager, saidWe can confirm that there were 3 Kromberg & Schubert Botswana employees who travelled to Germany, and were duly screened by the Ministry of Health at the port of entry being Sir Seretse Khama International Airport…”

He added that “The said employees were, out of caution, advised to self-quarantine. We confirm that the trio were, also, screened by our local Plant clinic and cleared for the 14 days self quarantine as a precautionary measure.

He denied that the employees in question are currently quarantined at the Block 8 clinic. “There are no employees from Kromberg & Schubert Botswana that are currently quarantined at Block 8 clinic, nor have there been any employees of Kromberg & Schubert Botswana that have been quarantined at block 8 clinic,” he said.

According to Tsimanyana “The team travelled to Germany on the 1st of March and returned on the 14th March 2020.”

He further stated that “None of the trio showed any symptoms of the Corona virus, and the advice to self-quarantine was purely taken as a precautionary measure in line with our COVID -19 internal and national guidelines.”

He said Kromberg & Schubert Botswana as an entity that employs over 2300 employees is fully aware and appreciative of the sensitivities in risks associated with the Corona virus pandemic currently prevailing.

“We are a very transparent entity in our way of doing business and would certainly continue in that honest and transparent nature built around years of integrity,” said Tsimanyana.

He said as a responsible employer, the company has taken necessary precautionary measures (Globally and Locally) to ensure that its employees, service providers and other stakeholders are, at all times, abreast of any risks of possible exposure to the virus.

Despite Tsimanyana denying that the employees have not shown any symptoms of the virus and that they were under self-quarantine, sources insisted that the employees were still holed up at Block 8 clinic.

Kromberg & Schubert focuses on the development and production of complex wiring systems for the automotive industry.

Meanwhile neighbouring South Africa which has since recorded more than 200 confirmed cases of the virus has closed at least 13 boarders that the country shares with Botswana.

In a statement, South Africa’s High Commissioner to Botswana Rosemary Mashaba said the following “commercial ports of entry into Botswana from South Africa will remain open; Groblersburg, Kopfontein, Ramatlabama and Skilpashek.”

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