While sport has all but fully returned, the threat of Covid-19 still hovers like a dark cloud.
Even in moments of celebration, the adverse impact of the pandemic cannot be forgotten.
On Monday during the celebratory handover of housing units to team Botswana men’s 4X400m Olympic team, the significance of the Covid-19 pandemic was not lost to the powers that be in sports.
Perhaps with reference to what has been deliberate non-adherence to return to play Covid-19 prevention protocols by stakeholders in the sports fraternity, the Minister of Sports Tumiso Rakgare has issued a cautionary word.
“While we are celebrating this handover of the houses to our athletes, Covid-19 is still a challenge for our country. We may be doing better than most of our peers but that does not mean we have to drop the ball,” he cautioned.
He went on to say that although sport has been open for some time now, ‘we continue to witness total disregard for Covid-19 protocols and regulations as advised by the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Presidential Task Team on Covid-19.’
Perhaps as a measure of how serious the threat is, the minister even said something which would not go down well with a section of Batswana, encouraging organisers of events that whenever they plan their events, ‘they should always ensure that all attendants have vaccination certificates.’
With Covid-19 vaccines continuing to steadily flow into the country, the minister said taking such an initiative will be of great benefit as ‘in the end, Botswana will be among countries that would have vaccinated almost all their people, thus reducing the effect of Covid-19.’
The same sentiments were shared by the Board Chairman at the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Morula Morule, whose commission is the sport controlling mother body in the country.
Morule said the BNSC is concerned by the non-adherence to the set return to play Covid-19 protocols at sporting events. “Sometimes we seem to forget that Covid-19 is still with us,” he observed.
Talking about sport, the BNSC Board Chairman said what is of concern is that people still go to the sporting facilities without masks and without taking precautionary measures against the spread of Covid-19.
“At the Botswana National Sports Commission board, and as the Botswana sports fraternity, we really do not want to go back. We have been there, and we do not want to go back there. So please, let us plead with all our stakeholders that we still need to adhere to protocols,” Morule pleaded.