Surge in local transmissions “DISTURBING”
A disturbing spike in cases of local transmission of COVID-19 is exercising the minds of authorities. Botswana has a total confirmed 23 Covid-19 virus cases, eight of them local transmissions. The latest case of local infection was reported by the Deputy National Coordinator of the COVID-19 Task Force, Professor Mosepele Mosepele, on Tuesday this week.
Although location and other details are not disclosed in accordance with protocols of the Task Force, an upsurge in Metsimotlhabe seven cases of local transmission have been recorded has led to breaching the code because Metsimotlhabe lies just west of the capital, Gaborone.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi has given expression to concern arising from this rise in local transmission. “The discovery of locally transmitted cases has prompted us to ramp up our testing through contact tracing,” the President said in a televised address on Tuesday this week. “A new cluster of Covid-19 outbreak is being actively investigated in Metsimotlhabe where a total of seven Batswana have tested positive for Covid-19.
“These seven cases from the Metsimotlhabe outbreak were exposed to Covid-19 prior to the national lockdown and several Batswana who were not aware of their exposure travelled to their home villages across the country. Active contact tracing and assessment for possible Covid-19 infection for all persons known to have been exposed in Metsimotlhabe is ongoing across the country with support from several local and international partners.”
Masisi added that as a result of the Metsimotlhabe situation, several public and private areas have been disinfected. “To this end, appropriate disinfection of these places have commenced under the guidance of health officials,” said the President.
The President conceded that the disease has taken hold within communities and that it would take a lot break transmission of the virus. According to the President, contact tracing has been extended to other places that recorded positive cases. “Our field teams have also been deployed to Ramotswa, Molepolole and Siviya to augment our District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) to conduct active case finding because these places have had confirmed Covid-19 cases,” he noted. “In Mahalapye and Bobonong, there are persons who form part of the Metsimotlhabe Covid-19 outbreak, hence their inclusion in the contact tracing.”
According to President Masisi, it was against this background that the Task Force had advised that the national lockdown be extended.