Ever since the news broke that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) had reached Botswana, the message from authorities was clear and consistent.
Stay home, do not make any unnecessary movement, wash your hands with soap, use sanitiser and wear a mask. The message is everywhere, some are even complaining that mobile operators send annoyingly many messages on fighting the pandemic. But somehow it would seem we still have a lot of people who are unbothered about doing the right thing.
We were asked to stay home and not go to our villages in December and we defied the plea. We went all over the country to our elders and some even spread the deadly virus. We hosted parties in farms , disobeyed protocols and even defied the curfew that was meant to manage disorder without enforcing another unwanted lockdown. We are now back to our respective workplaces and we continue to live our lives as if the virus doesn't exist. This is despite the fact that our countrymen are perishing in high numbers. Leaders and celebrities are dying. But we act like we live with everyone we meet with at work, school, restaurants, football grounds and many other places. Can we just stop it already and appreciate the situation for what it is?
We are deeply concerned that we register around 300 cases daily. Our frontliners get infected in the line of duty because of shortage of PPEs. This increases the danger of spreading the virus into the rest of society.
We have also noticed that contact-tracing personell is also struggling to keep up due to the influx of positive cases and probable cases. This poses a danger as some people are now forced to wait longer to be attended at their homes while others use public transport to reach health facilities for testing. This increases chances of spreading faster and our health facilities suffering more.
We have also noted disturbing trends at these testing clinics. How do you go for a COVID-19 test and fail to social distance when there is a possibility that the next person could be infected?
Ngaka Masupu le ngaka Dikoloti, we plead with you to be able to speak to your partners to invest in helping with more PPEs and also frequently fumigate at these testing centres as Batswana are being assisted. Remember our frontliners ke bagaka botlhe and we should protect them lest we give them diamonds when they are dead.
We call on government to try by all means possible to employ more human resources and indeed other resources to help curb the spread of the virus. It is also important to suspend some of the unnecessary gatherings like social soccer where people who never tested play soccer and share water bottles recklessly. We, however, commend social soccer teams who found it fit to suspend their matches. Why are our churches still at 100 attendants? Why do we still have workshops that are unnecessary? Why do we allow political parties to hold rallies when we know and always see on social media that people do not follow set protocols? And yet, we are too quick to shut the booze gates.
We all know the country currently cannot afford another lockdown as there is no funding for such. It is hence important that we all play our roles and fight this pandemic.