When Botswana underwent its first lockdown due to the dreaded and fast-spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in late March, Batswana were terrified and most people abided by the set protocols that ushered in the new normal.
Despite there being 75 local active cases with most coming from local transmissions, Batswana in the Greater Gaborone zone are disobeying COVID- 19 protocols. This has prompted the Botswana Police Service to enforce ‘tough action’ against COVID-19 infractions.
The Monitor team has observed that people in some areas continue to ignore these protocols by continuing to do construction work, gatherings and selling alcohol amongst many other infractions.
Police spokesperson, assistant commissioner Dipheko Motube has expressed concern at the way Batswana continue to act.
“We will have a report ready tomorrow on the progress of reinforcing COVID-19 protocols. We are concerned that even though people know what the virus is doing to our neighbours, they continue to disregard the [set] protocols,” he said. “I have been receiving calls about people hosting parties, people gathering and others continue working while others move around without permits. They just feel we are disturbing their businesses and their leisure time.”
Motube revealed that in response to the situation, they have to apply tough remedial, corrective and preventive action.
“People should not be waiting for the Police to force them to respect COVID-19 protocols, we already know how bad the situation can get and some people for reasons known to them influence others to disobey the law. People should
Tlokweng Police Station commander, assistant superintendent Unoziba Rari said his policing area still records many cases of failure to comply. “It is so shocking that we still have people hosting parties and gatherings during the lockdown.
A lot of people also go around without masks while others move without permits. We have thus increased manpower with assistance from other police stations,” Rari said. Rari said they have been charging those who were not complying between P200 and P1,000 stating that those who do not pay would be taken to court. Health and Wellness minister, Lemogang Kwape also expressed concern over the way people have been behaving.
“We are concerned by people who continue disregarding COVID- 19 protocols. We shall discuss with the Botswana Police on how to manage the situation better,” he said. Greater Gaborone is under a third lockdown since the virus reached Botswana. The current lockdown, which Kwape announced last Thursday follows discovery of the virus in various schools in Mogoditshane and Gaborone, as well as a delinquent truck driver from Oodi, who skipped mandatory quarantine.