Gaborone — Government has established a relief fund in an effort to engage all stakeholders in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Launching the fund March 26, presidential affairs, governance and public administration minister, Mr Kabo Morwaeng said the development would enable individuals, companies, non-governmental organisations and institutions to offer financial or any kind of contribution.
For financial donations, he explained that accounts had been opened at First National Bank, Standard Chartered, absa, Stanbic, Bank Gaborone, First Capital Bank, BancABC and Bank of Baroda.
Mr Morwaeng said for external donors, an account had been opened with Bank of Botswana while donations in kind would be received by district commissioners across the country.
He noted with gratitude that members of the public and organisations had been enquiring about the establishment of such a fund.
Members of the public, he said, were committed to fighting the virus and mitigating its impact revealing that cabinet had decided to contribute.
"I am confident that the contributions that will be made by individuals and the private sector to the relief fund will go a long way in assisting government fight the pandemic," he said.
He said government recognised the private sector as a critical partner in the development of the country.
"Therefore, I would like to appeal to them in these challenging times, to assist in the fight against coronavirus through financial donations, donations in kind or both," he said.
Mr Morwaeng said more than ever before, people must come together to defeat the pandemic.
He noted with concern that even though Botswana currently had no confirmed cases, COVID-19 infections were escalating around the world.
"The fact that we have not as yet confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 in Botswana should not lead us complacency.
We must rather learn quickly from affected countries and how they have been dealing with the outbreak and ensure that those lessons are applied in our country as well," he said.
Mr Morwaeng said it had become apparent that through government, civil society and community cooperation, the pandemic could be overcome.
"I am therefore taking this opportunity to appeal to Batswana to listen and put into effect messages from the Ministry of Health and Wellness and WHO to combat the virus," he said.
He reminded his audience of preventative measures government had put in place such as travel restrictions both into and out of the country and mandatory quarantine for citizens returning from affected and high risk countries.
Another measure, social distancing, which was within the individual's control, had proven to be an effective way of slowing down the spread of the virus, he said.
He said the instituted measures gave individuals and community an opportunity to take responsibility in combating and slowing down the spread of COVID-19.
"Keeping Botswana safe starts with the conduct of individuals," he said.
Source : BOPA