Botswana: Covid-19 Likely to Dampen Festive Mood

Francistown — The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many lives and with Christmas holidays around the corner many are wondering if the holidays would be different.

By the look of things, the coronavirus is poised to spoil the merry atmosphere and jovial festivities synonymous with Christmas holidays.

There is an array of very important protocols to observe such as social distancing, frequent sanitisation as well as the wearing of facial masks to keep the virus at bay.

Before the emergence of COVID-19, the festive season brought so much excitement as many retire for holidays from work to travel and explore tourist destinations, have family gatherings and attended music festivals with zero restriction of movement.

Recently, BOPA took to the streets of the city of Francistown and conducted a vox pop with the residents to shed more light on their preparations for the holidays and how they intend to keep safe from the coronavirus.

A Tonota young man, Rapekenene Rapekenene does not prefer to travel around the country during festive season. He considers the festive season a bad time to travel more so road accidents are always on the rise during Christmas holidays.

Under normal circumstances, he enjoys attending traditional choir carnivals (dikhwaere) at the lands with family. However, under the 'new normal' Rapekenene said he goes into the festive season with a very low mood and fears there could be a spike of the virus in the course of the merrymaking.

His other fear is that government will clamp down on free movement and introduce curfews primarily to try and contain disease spread, something he said although necessary will spoil this years' festivities.

"We are currently under the state of emergency and probably this means that there will be some laws that are going to be imposed towards the holidays hindering us to do what we usually do and engage in during the festive period," he added.

His plea to the powers that be is for them to ease restrictions and allow for traditional choir festivities and allow those travelling to do so during the holidays.

Ms Neo Jacob from Masunga says the festive season is usually a time for her family to travel to tourists' destinations to unwind away from the hustle and bustles of the city life.

"Usually if we are not travelling to far flung places, we go to Masunga and gather as an extended family, organise mini celebrations, share meals and attend football tournaments as pass time," she said.

All this, she mentions has changed due to the fear of coronavirus and everybody seems to be in a somber mood. Ms Jacob even doubts the family will travel nor gather as per the norm.

BOPA went further to interview Francistown Police Station Commander, Superintendent Lebalang Maniki who stated that this year's 60 Days of Action on Crime and Road Safety will focus on safety and security amid COVID-19.

"Normally within the last 60 days of the year, people become exposed and criminals intensify their criminal activities," he said adding that this time around police officers within his area of jurisdiction will do more patrols to ensure compliance towards COVID-19 regulations.

This he said they will do in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies such as the Botswana Defence Force and police clusters.

He thus pleaded with the community at large to partner with the police during the 60 Days of Action on Crime and Road Safety to ensure compliance with COVID-19 regulations and security for the people and property.

Source : BOPA

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