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The Covid-19 Standards And Law Enforcement Challenge

KGOSIETSILE NGAKAAGAE
A friend of mine lamented the quality of infrared non-contact thermometers being used by businesses and establishments. 

That was after he recorded a 33 degrees Celsius.

I told him to keep quiet and to go and see a doctor because according to what my standard four teacher told me, he was not well. I couldn’t understand his basis for arguing with a sophisticated scientific instrument that merely takes a reading and has no connection with his paternal aunt who rides a broom. In fact, my initial reaction had been to ask him if the reading was not an IQ reading considering it had been fired at his forehead. That would have made more sense but I have since reconsidered.If the non-contact infra-red thermometers are really crucial to the COVID19 fight, as we are led to believe, something will have to be done about them. Otherwise it is all an act in futility and we should edit them off the list and stick to other protocols. Unfortunately, it is taking too long. 

This morning I went to a supermarket to get some groceries. Of course, there was a security guard with a non-contact infra-red thermometer in hand at the entrance. My temperature reading was 36. 1 degrees Celsius which I considered fairly consistent considering a 36.6 degrees Celsius reading I had recorded at another service outlet previously. That was surely good enough for me to be allowed in. A decimal difference, I imagined, a comment by a face-book pseudo. But I had to register first, which, by the way, I think is the right thing to do.

I will talk about registration later. I supplied all the particulars, but when I came up to the temperature portion, I decided to check something out. I turned to the security guard and pretended I had forgotten the reading. He looked at me as if wanted to ask if I could tie my shoe laces but he didn’t. He pointed his gun at me the second time and you guessed right; my reading was 33.7 degrees Celsius. At that time I knew what the thermometer was either a piece of junk or had been stolen from the Botswana Stock Exchange. I had had a 2.4 degrees drop in body temperature between the entrance and the register and that was 1.5 meters space and it had happened in less than a minute. I have two concerns.

Firstly, the COVID19 war effort is being undermined by the selling of fake thermometers. Secondly, Batswana are being ripped off big time. Now, the infrared thermometers have pretty much become a legal requirement for business. It was foreseeable that that announcement would excite a market in the same way it happened with

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cloth masks and hand sanitizers. Government should have insisted on a prior stamp of approval but they did not. The result is that we are daily being fired at with nonsense gadgets the functionality of which is grossly in doubt or that have not at all been calibrated. There has got to be a better way.  

Like I said I registers and guess what I noticed; poor if not inexistent registration standards. The registration process, so crucial to contact tracing, is generally supervised. As such people just write rubbish. They write the kind of stuff I see in government’s security registers all over town. Instead of someone giving their physical addresses, they give general localities like, “Block 5” or “Mogoditshane”. That, according to me undermines the very essence of the registration exercise and must stop.

The whole process was intended for certainty and expedition in contact tracing. If you need to understand my point, ask yourself how long it takes a police team to find a thief in Mogoditshane. Anyone who fails to provide clear particulars of their physical address must be denied entry.  They are a danger to society. The other day I could not gain entry into Game Store at Game City because I had left my O’mang in the car. I fully understood why they had such a requirement and I politely proceeded to collect same. As it is, I really doubt that people even write their true names.

We cannot work on blind faith. One silly individual can simply wipe off the P2.4 billion investment we have put into the effort. No one should be allowed into a shop or availed services without some form of identification, even if it is a driver’s licence, a workplace ID, a passport or O’mang.  I have no doubt that many Batswana do furnish their correct and full particulars. But it is clearly not those that we are worried about. It is those who don’t. Because of such simple irresponsibility, we have more reason to suspect that they don’t even have permits to begin with and are generally irresponsible. 

What more; we need such clarity because everyone is wearing masks now which will complicate the work of law enforcement as soon as the permit requirement ends and we move to zonal permits. Businesses are going to fall prey to masked men and women who will be hiding behind the face mask requirement and identification will not be easy. We need to deal with this issue not only as a health challenge but a law enforcement challenge.  

Rre Makgope, I hope you are taking note, Sir.



Chief On Friday

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