Lobatse — Cross border trade continues, despite travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, principal port health officer at Pioneer Border Post, Mr Ivan Nkaiwa has said.
Botswana earlier this week tightened measures to stop the virus from hitting the country. By yesterday afternoon, the country had still not registered any positive corona virus case.
One of the new measures was that everyone coming into Botswana would be put on mandatory quarantine for 14 days.
Non-citizens would not be allowed into Botswana except those delivering essential commodities and truck drivers in transit to other countries would be permitted subject to specific quarantine protocols.
Speaking in an interview on Wednesday, Mr Nkaiwa said government wanted to ensure that trade was not negatively affected by the measures put in place.
He said the flow of trucks transporting fuel, goods and courier vehicles continued as normal.
"It is intention of the government to ensure that trade is not disturbed during this period of travel restrictions. Therefore, the movement of trucks across the border post has continued as normal. I should emphasize that any form of business trip has continued to be permitted because all businesses are important," he said.
Mr Nkaiwa, however, said they screened the drivers thoroughly before they could be allowed into Botswana.
"We check every person, including people on transit and truck drivers. We then give them a self-monitoring tool to continue checking themselves for 14 days for all symptoms of COVID-19. We instruct them to call the emergency number 997 anytime they suspect that they could be having one of the symptoms," he said.
He said they had not found anyone with any of the symptoms since they started checking arrivals this month. He expressed happiness that many people were cooperating with the border agency officers.
Mr Nkaiwa said the Pioneer Border Post registered a daily average flow of 1 000 people before COVID-19 disruptions, but the numbers decreased to around 300 after South Africa announced a lockdown.
He said by Wednesday, the numbers of people wanting to cross the border were continuing to dwindle.
He said people who arrived from South Africa on Tuesday and Wednesday had been taken for a 14-day mandatory quarantine in Gaborone and Lobatse. In Lobatse they were being quarantined at the Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) .
Source : BOPA