Gaborone — Parliament has today (May 6) amended the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) regulations, introducing the next step of interventions in the country's battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following a motion presented earlier in the morning by Vice President and Leader of the House, Mr Slumber Tsogwane, legislators debated all day before electing to endorse amendments to the regulations adopted in April when the state of emergency ensued.
The words 'during the state of public emergency' and 'with effect from midnight of April 2' that had accompanied some clauses of the regulations were amended. The two phrases were replaced with the words 'until further notice'.
This would allow the director of health services to remove or reinstate each restriction at any point in consultation with the President. And, the wearing of facial masks in public places has become mandatory until further notice.
From Friday (May 8), trades, businesses and schools may operate on condition that they satisfy the director of health services or those mandated by his office for being in compliance with relevant COVID-19 precautions.
These precautions include checking of body temperatures of all persons accessing the trade, business or school and that anyone recording a body temperature higher than the normal figure be referred to relevant health authorities.
Also, the regular disinfecting of such a trade, business or school premises under supervision of health authorities should be implemented. Such facilities could be closed if there is reasonable suspicion that a person who accessed the premises has come into contact with a person infected with coronavirus.
Places of religious worship would be allowed to conduct services twice a week, with a maximum of 50 people allowed to attend each service. Furthermore, for the purpose of containing the spread of COVID-19, the country has been demarcated into nine zones.
People will not be allowed to undertake non-essential travel across these zones for the period of the state of public emergency.
A person attending the funeral of an immediate family member (described as a parent, sibling or child of the person) or a person leaving home to access their ploughing field (masimo), cattle post (moraka), ranch or farm would be exempted from such travel prohibition, but they would have to acquire a travel permit.
The COVID zones include the Greater Gaborone zone, which incorporates towns, villages and settlements from Dibete to Ramatlabama, including the national capital and its periphery, Lobatse as well as Kanye, Molepolole and surrounding areas.
The Greater Francistown zone covers the area from Ramokgwebana to Gojwane gate, stretching also to Dukwi and Mokubilo.
Another area is the Greater Palapye zone, covering the area from Dibete to Martin's Drift and Sefhophe gate, including the major villages of Serowe, Mahalapye and Palapye.
The Boteti zone on one hand stretches from Makoba to Makalamabedi; the whole of Ngamiland is designated as the Greater Maun zone; while the Chobe zone consists of the Chobe district up to Dukwi and Zoroga gate.
The area from Jwaneng to the Kgalagadi North and South constituencies has been demarcated as the Kgalagadi zone.
Source : BOPA