Botswana: Cry From Okavango Delta - 'Test Us Please'

Maun — Mokoro polers, who transport tourists in the Okavango Delta, have asked to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to their families.

The polers said they had interacted with people from high risk areas such as Italy, China, United States and South Africa, among others.

Over 30 polers, who reported to be stranded at Daunara settlement in the delta, said in an interview that they wanted to know their status so as to minimise spread of the corona virus.

They remained in the delta following announcement of the extreme social distancing period. Some expressed concern because they showed symptoms of being unwell.

Mr Galeisitiswe Dimbo requested relevant authorities to come to their rescue and facilitate COVID-19 testing for the whole group.

He noted that majority had their last trips with international tourists end of February. "We had direct contact with the tourists as we lacked knowledge and information about COVID-19 pandemic. Now we are living in fear," he stressed.

Mr Dimbo said they learnt from the radio about the pandemic and the prevention measures put in place by health officials. Currently, he said they had been practising social distancing and washing hands with soap.

Ms Keikantseng Gorewang concurred that they were ready to be tested so that they know their status before interacting with family members and the public.

She said they were concerned after learning about the danger of the virus noting that 'we are living in fear as we heard through the radio that in other countries people lost their lives.'

Furthermore, she decried shortage of basic needs such as food and soaps to wash their hands as preventive measure and stated that testing was critical for safety of their lives.

Some of the polers, she said, came along with their children following the closure of the schools and they were unable to take care of them.

Ms Gorewang said they survived through fields products from other residents of Daunara.

Source: BOPA

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