Francistown — Members of the public, especially the young and able-bodied, have been requested to exercise caution during the forthcoming holidays to avoid transmitting coronavirus to the elderly and vulnerable.
Echoing presidential COVID-19 task force coordinator's sentiments in an interview December 1, greater Francistown DHMT's Dr Botshabelo Kgwaadira feared the worst should those travelling during the festive season let down their guard.
In a media release Monday, Dr Kereng Masupu advised the public to avoid visiting the elderly who were at high risk of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 if infected.
"Most of the COVID-19 cases are in Greater Gaborone zone, therefore anyone travelling out of this zone risks spreading the virus while those visiting Gaborone zone are at the risk of contracting COVID-19," says the release.
Dr Kgwaadira, who is the regional coordinator, said the youth had the responsibility to stop the virus from reaching the elderly and those with underlying conditions who might succumb to coronavirus given their compromised immunity.
The regional coordinator, whose area of jurisdiction covers 40 facilities spread across Tonota, Tutume, North East and Francistown districts, said the best approach in COVID-19 containment was to treat everybody as if they already had the disease.
He said plans were at an advanced stage to expand community testing for the virus within greater Francistown.
Currently, swabbing is done at eight facilities including Tonota, Mathangwane, Botsalano, Boikhutso, Area W, Ntshe and Botshelo clinics as well as Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital.
Meanwhile, Dr Kgwaadira has disclosed that educational institutions, especially Francistown senior, Mater-Spei College, Setlalekgosi junior and Goldmine remained hot spots for COVID-19 spread.
Twenty-five per cent of the 572 cases recorded in the zone to date was mainly learners, their parents or guardians and teachers.
The exact cause of transmission among school-going children was yet to be established, he said.
"We suspect though that the tendency by pupils to congregate especially after school and the fact that they share public transport could be among factors responsible for the spike," said Dr Kgwaadira.
Out of the 572 cases, Dr Kgwaadira said 522 people had recovered, one repatriated while four had died.
Four cases, he stated, remained active.
Although happy with overall compliance by the general public to COVID-19 protocols, Dr Kgwaadira was worried that pockets of congestion, particularly at the shops, still existed.
Source : BOPA