Namibia: Border Post Runs Out of Virus Test Kits

The Mamuno border post in Botswana has run out of confirmatory testing kits, which are used for testing of truck drivers for coronavirus, putting Namibia's fight against Covid-19 in jeopardy. Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat (TKCS) executive director Leslie Mpofu confirmed the developments yesterday. Mpofu said both Botswana and the Namibian authorities met on Saturday at the Mamuno border gate to be briefed about the situation at hand.

"The Charleshill District Health Management Team (DHMT) informed the meeting that they ran short of reagents for testing of truck drivers that enter Botswana through Mamuno border gate on Friday and they are currently awaiting more supply," he said.

However, he said, it was agreed that the swabbing of truck drivers would continue to be administered at Mamuno and specimens will be sent to Gaborone, Botswana's capital for laboratory confirmation.

"Drivers that exit the country are not tested as the assumption is that they have been tested at the ports of entry they used to enter Botswana," Mpofu said in a statement. He said it is upon this background that a decision has been made to confine truck drivers at the border gate while awaiting their results, which is expected to be released within 72 hours.

"The Charleshill DHMT has ensured availability of ablution facilities (showers and toilets) for truck drivers. The Botswana Police Service and the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) will provide security for the trucks and cargo whilst the drivers await results," he said.

He said the BDF will further escort trucks on transit to the point of exit for truck drivers who obtain a negative result.

"The DHMT will continue to provide truck drivers with health education as well as the Botswana Covid-19 protocols," he added.

"The TKCS wishes to assure the public, users of the corridor and all concerned stakeholders that Botswana assured the meeting that this will be a temporary arrangement."

He added the government of Botswana is doing everything in its power to source the supply of reagents for testing to be continued at the border. Meanwhile, Botswana alongside Namibia remains one of Africa's least impacted countries, one of a handful with less than 100 cases of Covid-19.

By Sunday, Botswana had a total 38 confirmed cases, 20 recoveries and one death. Namibia has 25 confirmed cases, 16 recoveries and nine active cases.

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