Gaborone — The number of local COVID-19 cases has increased from 177 to 251, a surge of 42 per cent, Professor Mosepele Mosepele has stated.
Updating the nation via Botswana Television on August 10, he said in comparison, non-citizen cases experienced an increase of 14 per cent.
Professor Mosepele, who is acting coordinator of the presidential COVID-19 task team, noted that the norm had changed as the number of local cases had surpassed that of non-citizens.
"In the past most of our COVID-19 cases were recorded at points of entry and being on non-citizens who were mostly truck drivers, but our recent statistics indicated growth in local transmission of the coronavirus," he said.
Professor Mosepele said as a result of the new trend, the task force had to come up with diverse strategies and engage in measures that would be best for arresting the situation.
He said during the first week of August, COVID-19 cases experienced an overall increase of 28 per cent.
"During our previous briefing of July 31, overall COVID-19 cases were 894 and the number has increased to 1 066 within a week," said Professor Mosepele.
Currently, he said, potential cases were identified through contact tracing based on information gathered from those who tested positive for COVID-19.
To date, Professor Mosepele said 80 000 tests had been conducted, mostly at border posts.
He said the 251 local COVID-19 cases recorded inclued 169 active, 80 recoveries and two casualties.
On the recent outbreak which had resulted in lockdown for greater Gaborone, Professor Mosepele said all the cases emanated from localities in the periphery of Gaborone, such as Mogoditshane, Mmopane and Ramotswa.
He said even though the positive cases were identified at Gaborone health facilities, it was worth noting that those people resided outside Gaborone.
Professor Mosepele said the trend was puzzling.
"We had never recorded cases that emanated from Gaborone, those who tested positive to COVID-19 and residing in Gaborone were contacts of cases that originated from surrounding localities," said Professor Mosepele.
He emphasised the need for people to abide by set preventative measures revealing that it had come to the task team's attention that at workplaces and homes, people let their guard down by not putting on face masks among others.
Prof Mosepele also encouraged people to adopt behaviours that would go a long way in fighting the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, Department of Health Services director, Dr Malaki Tshipayagae has stated that one of the new measures introduced to contain COVID-19 was that those wishing to travel to other zones from greater Gaborone, currently under lockdown, would be subjected to testing prior to travelling.
Dr Tshipayagae also advised that those testing negative would then be given the go ahead to travel.
He further indicated that at present, movement into the country was only restricted to citizens and foreigner nationals.
Dr Tshipayagae also said under exceptional conditions, those offering essential services would be allowed entry into the country on condition they would be confined to their areas of visit.
He reiterated that testing for COVID-19 was mandatory for all entering the country. BOPA
<i>Source : BOPA</i>