Botswana: Batswana in China Under Protection

Masunga — Ministry of Health and Wellness has assured North East District Council that Batswana living in China are taken care of to ensure they don't contract Novel Coronavirus.

Addressing the council on Botswana's preparedness in the face of Novel Coronavirus outbreak, a ministry official, Dr Orapeleng Phuswane-Katse said some Batswana had opted to come back home.

She said those who had been in China were put under 14 days quarantine for monitoring to see if they had signs and symptoms of the virus.

Dr Phuswane-Katse said the virus could be spread from person to person through contact or via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughed or sneezed.

The ministry, she said, was very vigilant and screened all entering Botswana from China or any other country affected for signs and symptoms of the virus.

Dr Phuswane-Katse revealed that the ministry had deployed teams in every district to train health practitioners and support staff on how to conduct themselves in the event a case arose.

In addition, she said, pamphlets and materials had been distributed at public places as a way of raising awareness.

Dr Phuswane-Katse called on all Batswana to be on the alert and notify health practitioners on any suspected case of the ailment.

She emphasised the washing of hands, use of sanitizer, covering mouths when coughing or sneezing explaining that the disease was an airborne respiratory tract illness just like flu.

She informed the council that the virus could not be transmitted through goods imported from China but said Chinese authorities took precautions by scanning all goods leaving the country.

The council heard that Botswana had not registered any case of the virus stressing that it was important for Batswana remain safe by avoiding unnecessary travel.

Councilor Bakani Badzili of Siviya Ward commended the ministry for its efforts to raise awareness and train health practitioners.

Botswana should continue to be cautious at all times, he said, adding that the fact that no cases were registered should not lead to laxity.

Councilor William Tatose of Senyawe Ward expressed concern about some people who may have travelled to affected countries entering Botswana through ungazzetted points.

"This calls on every Motswana to be alert and report anyone who may enter the country illegally," he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Nahanson Kombe of the Serowe District Health Management Team (DMHT) has said there was no reason for panic over the possible spread of corona virus in the country.

He was speaking in Serowe on Thursday at an emergency meeting called by the team to sensitise people about the virus which the World Health Organisation has since declared a global health emergency.

He said it had been declared as such because it constituted a public health risk to other countries through its spread and required a coordinated response.

Dr Kombe noted that the five suspected cases of corona virus in the country had all tested negative.

He urged the public to continue being vigilant and to observe preventative measures.

The Serowe DMHT like others elsewhere in the country, had prepared countermeasures, he said.

He said an isolation centre had been set up at the old Institute of Health Sciences while a response team was in place.

Dr Kombe said personal protective equipment was ready and some officers recently attended training and educational posters secured.

He said Serowe DHMT would actively provide information about the virus and alert the community about the situation.

Corona was a type of virus belonging to a large family of respiratory viruses that could cause diseases ranging from mild to severe respiratory infections, he explained.

Dr Kombe explained that any person who had travelled to affected places or countries where there was local transmission or a person who had close contact with an infected person was at risk of contracting the virus.

He said there was no known cure for corona virus but only supportive treatment which meant treating symptoms like cough and headache.

People were advised to avoid crowded areas and practising good personal hygiene.

Source : BOPA

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