Gaborone — Botswana, which is one of the few countries in Southern Africa yet to have a confirmed case of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic currently afflicting the world, can draw lessons from past experience to manage an outbreak of the disease.
The Ambassador of the United States of America to Botswana, Mr Craig Cloud, said this in an interview, as he himself just emerged from a mandatory 14-day quarantine, having recently returned to Botswana from the US, classified as a high risk country.
Mr Clould said in dealing with the HIV/AIDS pandemic, particularly over the past two decades, Botswana collaborated with international development partners including the United States, and systems were developed, which could be important as the country prepares to fight the global COVID-19 scourge.
Ambassador Cloud said the United States had invested heavily in equipping the National Health Laboratory in Gaborone, whose facilities would come in good stead during the current situation, and that the Botswana government had worked to ensure that the Sir Ketumile Masire Medical School was well equipped for the COVID-19 response.
"The Ministry of Health and Wellness has been great about following up on people who have been coming into the country from high risk countries and putting them on self-isolation. All these measures are necessary, and facilities have now been availed for testing and providing medical care to those who would be diagnosed with Coronavirus," Mr Cloud said.
Late last week, Ambassador Cloud was cleared by the Block 8 Clinic to go back to work having spent two weeks in self-isolation, and said such a measure had been necessary as he had just come from a high risk country.
"I am very lucky since I have a computer at home and I could work from there, so I was very productive while in quarantine, I had a little bit of fun too since I worked in my jeans and t-shirts. But you do get lonely being by yourself but I would not have it any other way, it is for the good of everyone else around you," Mr Cloud said.
Last week, the government announced a travel ban from high risk countries, including the United States, China, Japan, Iran, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and India among others. While Batswana and Botswana residents coming from the affected states will be allowed entry, they will undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Ambassador Cloud said his country understood the decision.
"The position taken by the government of Botswana is sensible. Our own government is currently advising against international travel.
Yes, tourism and other sectors may be affected, but the battle against the spread of COVID-19 is far more important for now. People should minimise travel, avoid large gatherings, stay at home as much as possible, regularly wash hands and follow other preventative measures," Mr Cloud said.
Source : BOPA