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Border Jumping Major Obstacle In COVID-19 Fight

LESEDI MKHUTSHWA
Border Jumping Major Obstacle In COVID-19 Fight
FRANCISTOWN: The City of Francistown Council’s (COFC) town clerk, Lopang Pule has said that border jumping still remains a major obstacle in the fight against the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

When addressing the COFC special full council last week, Pule was concerned about the number of border jumpers who use ungazetted points of entry from Zimbabwe into Botswana through villages along the two countries’ border line.

Pule said to make the matter worse during the pandemic there are still Batswana who are helping such illegal immigrants by harbouring them with the full knowledge that they have travelled to Zimbabwe during and after the lockdowns.

He added some people have also developed a tendency of not reporting border jumpers who travel back-to-back to Zimbabwe on a regular basis due to personal reasons.  He also stated that some Batswana even assist the border jumpers to cross through ungazetted points by transporting them.

“Some people would not even report any suspicious movement of border jumpers even though they are in full knowledge that those certain individuals have travelled to neighbouring countries.

Let’s encourage people to report such suspicious movement so that those people can be taken into the 14-day mandatory quarantine.” Pule also shared that upon being arrested by the police the non-citizens are tested then repatriated to their countries of origin.

He said due to the issue at hand they have made a recommendation to the COVID-19

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National Task Force to start testing communities near the Botswana-Zimbabwe borderline in order to check the status of COVID-19 and eliminate the disease.

When speaking about the number of people put through mandatory quarantine in the district, the town clerk said a total of 862 people were quarantined in the city and most of them if not all tested negative for COVID-19.

He said the isolation centre for the district, which is Ntshe Clinic, has admitted 14 cases of which seven from other districts tested positive, five have been repatriated to their home countries while two are still at the centre.

Pule also shared that the compliance rate of the 3,456 facilities they have visited to date stands at 82.5%.

He said the common compliance issues were lack of infrared thermometers, substandard sanitisers and unavailability of registers. Last month, Northern Divisional Commander senior assistant commissioner, Cynthia Setilo also emphasised that illegal immigrants are an issue of concern across the North East District, extending up to Francistown and surrounding areas.

She added that during the second quarter (April and June) during lockdown they arrested about 1,100 illegal non-citizens in the area. Setilo was addressing a North-East District Council (NEDC) special meeting at Masunga.



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