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Cross Border 'Sweethearts' Risk Corona Over Heartache

PINI BOTHOKO
Couple holding hands PIC: SOUTH AGENCY
Closed borders and (COVID-19) coronavirus-induced restrictions have done little to keep cross border ‘sweethearts’ apart.

Botswana and South Africa have closed most of their busy shared borders as part of the two countries’ efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus.

The Botswana government recently eased lockdown restrictions, although a majority of the borders remain closed with limited movement of people within zones hindering cross border ‘sweethearts’ to keep affair fires burning.

The restrictions appear to have pushed cross border ‘sweethearts’ to the edge and some cannot take it anymore, bending if not breaking the COVID-19 law.

Ramotswa Police Station commander, superintendent Keoagile Tau told The Monitor of the cases that have come up from the patrols along the Botswana and South Africa borderline.

Tau revealed that current crimes keeping the police on their toes include those of cross border ‘sweethearts’ who continue to cross illegally at un-gazetted entry points despite the restrictions put on visits.

He said they have recorded a number of cases in which distant lovers between the two countries cross illegally to visit each other. One such case is one recorded last Monday in which the police arrested middle-aged South African man after sneaking into the country to visit his girlfriend in Ramotswa.

 “The suspect is currently in police custody.

He

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was tested for COVID-19 and he is waiting to be repatriated,” Tau said.

The police boss said when investigating what could be behind the illegal crossing between the two countries they discovered that a majority of people were cross border ‘sweethearts’.

He said a majority of Batswana living along the borders have relatives across the lines and frequently visit each other.

Furthermore, Tau said it was worrisome that despite COVID-19 restrictions some residents have resorted to jumping the border to visit their friends and relatives.

“We have observed that cross border couples cannot take it anymore because they have been apart for the period of the lockdown and despite the relaxation of restrictions they cannot visit each other easily hence opting to take the law into their hands,” Tau said.

Tau pleaded with members of the public to refrain from visiting their relatives across the border and to take COVID-19 seriously because their acts can spread the virus and put people’s lives at risk.

The police boss further stated if people changed their behaviours they could save lives, stating that everyone has the power to stop the spread of the virus if they adhered to regulations.



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