The Ministry of Health and Wellness over the weekend confirmed five suspected cases of coronavirus.
All the suspected passengers arrived at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
The Ministry did a great job in isolating the individuals while awaiting specimen results from laboratories in South Africa. However, there are still many questions that remain unanswered.
We need to know what measures are taken by health authorities and other relevant agencies to make sure that those who shared flights and made contact with the five are not possible cases of the dreaded disease.
It is evident that we do not have capacity to control the virus and that the Ministry cannot say so to us. It is maybe time we shut our borders for those coming from China.
As an example of what we could do, on Saturday, Australia followed the US by imposing a ban on entry to most travellers from China. Canberra said citizens, residents or relatives would still be allowed in. Countries including Uzbekistan and Vietnam cancelled flights from China altogether.
Dozens of commercial carriers have cut back or halted flights to China, and several hotel chains have said they will allow cancellations by Chinese travellers. Major companies such as Google and Facebook have banned travel to the country, while international retailers such as Starbucks and Apple have shut
The incidents alluded to show that no stone is to be left unturned by nations that are way more resourced than us to deal with the disease. Meanwhile, the campaigns by the Ministry encouraging us to take care of ourselves is a great effort but not sufficient.
WHO said Friday it had identified 13 priority African countries: Algeria, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. This should naturally tell us that we are at risk.
So far, 305 people have died from the coronavirus as of February 2, 2020. A death in the Philippines, reported on February 2, marks the first death occurring outside of China. There are currently 14,642 confirmed cases in 27 countries.
The fatality rate is still being assessed. With that in mind, we call on individuals who know they could have possibly contacted the coronavirus to exercise restraint and visit health facilities for screening. Family members should also encourage their loved ones and even colleagues to do the right thing and report to authorities as early as possible.
Let’s all join in the fight and follow advice from health officials as we await a solution.