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COVID-19: Ramotswa death contact tracing, testing unsatisfactory

GOITSEMODIMO KAELO
Dr Lemogang Kwape minister of Health and Wellness PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
The Minister of Health and Wellness, Lemogang Kwape has said that they could not be content with the numbers that have shown up for testing in Ramotswa following the death of the 79-year-old woman, who succumbed to COVID-19 a fortnight ago.

Kwape told this publication that contact tracing is underway, and currently nine close contacts and 13 casual contacts have been identified. 

With the World Health Organisation (WHO) emphasising testing, Kwape stated that aggressive contact tracing continues in order to identify all those who may have come into contact with the late 79-year-old.

The woman, who became Botswana’s fourth confirmed case, had travelled to Motswedi, South Africa. She died on March 25, 2020 and was buried three days later on March 28. 

While the numbers suggest a low turnout of contacts for testing, Kwape said they expect many people who may have come into contact with the case to come forward. He said this does not only apply to the Ramotswa case, but to other cases as well. 

“We can’t be satisfied with the numbers. Contact tracing is an ongoing exercise that’s why we continue to appeal to those who might have contact with the case to come forward for testing. Contacts differ in levels and people may think that we are only talking about close contacts,” Kwape said. 

Kwape said contact tracing is not an easy exercise but a sensitive issue that needs public cooperation. 

“We are dealing

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with a virus that is spreading very fast. The President was highlighting the number of those who have tested, but that’s not just about it. We appeal for more to come forward for testing,” he added. 

As it is, Botswana has registered six COVID-19 confirmed cases and one death. 

The area Member of Parliament Lefoko Moagi expressed on the number of people who have tested. He said it is worrying that while authorities have appealed to the public to come for testing, the numbers remain very low.

“It is a concern. It is very hard to trace contacts. I appeal to members of the public who might have been in contact with the deceased to come for testing,” Moagi said.  

Meanwhile, Kwape said arrangements have been made to assist people who are in quarantine to get to their places once they have completed their 14-day confinement and are being released. 

He said most of them were taken into quarantine while travelling in their vehicles while transport would be arranged to facilitate their travelling to their homes.

As of Wednesday, government said 2,081 people have been placed in institutional quarantines, while 291 are in home quarantine.



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