The Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Mr Sethomo Lelatisitswe, has urged officers at Martins Drift Border Post to close gaps that may lead to transmission of COVID-19.
Mr Lelatisitswe, who visited the border post this week, was on a mission to assess the level of preparedness regarding COVID-19 pandemic.
He said government was doing everything in its power to protect Batswana.
He said a high number of Batswana had already been affected by non-communicable diseases and HIV/AIDS, adding that should COVID-19 find its way to Botswana, the implications would be far too much to handle.
He raised concern over Batswana who continued to cross the border to South Africa, despite the rapid increase of COVID-19 confirmed cases in that country.
Mr Lelatisitswe urged law enforcement officers to enhance border patrols.
He said since South Africa was starting a 21-day lock down yesterday, Botswana was anticipating a high number of border jumpers.
As part of precautionary measures, he said government had resolved that people coming from South Africa would be placed under mandatory quarantine for 14 days.Mr Lelatisitswe said the 21-day lockdown and the mandatory 14 days quarantine measures were likely to result in high border jumpers, adding 'we are concerned about border jumpers because they pose a serious risk to our people.'
Mr Lelatisitswe also urged government departments and parastatals to share resources during which include vehicles, masks, sanitisers and soap since government could not afford to provide everybody with masks.
For his part the, the assistant commissioner for North Central Division, Mr Seabe Maboka, assured the assistant minister that a satisfying number of law enforcement officers had been deployed at the border to ensure adherence to government precautionary measures in the fight against COVID-19.He said border patrols were also carried out to address the problem of border jumpers.
Mr Maboka also informed the assistant minister that the law enforcement forces had also joined hands with health workers to ensure that mandatory quarantine is done without fail.
For his part Kgosi Jimmy Moremi of Ngwapa raised concern over border jumping, saying it was common amongst residents of Tswapong villages namely Ngwapa, Letoreng, Mokobeng and Machaneng villages.
He said there were some people amongst those communities who were used to crossing the border at ungazetted points of entry, in particular crossing the border through the Limpopo River.
He urged the police to help ensure that this does not happen because such people were likely to contract the virus and transmit it to their relatives back home.
Member of Parliament for Sefhare/Ramokgonami Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang commended the government for the effort done to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, urging politicians to come forth and join forces with the government.
He urged dikgosi and councillors to work together to help the police and Members of the BDF to take action against people who would not abide by the set precautionary measures.
Source : BOPA