Government announced yesterday evening an indefinite ban on interzonal movement, citing rising COVID-19 cases. Health and Wellness minister, Dr Edwin Dikoloti said only essential services personnel would be allowed to apply for interzonal permits.
Dikoloti said the decision was done to preserve the lives of Batswana. He revealed that at the moment they are recording 800 cases per day. He added, the health ministry is heavily burdened with high COVID-19 cases, which gave rise to the interzonal lockdown in hopes to slow the spread of the virus.
“Our medical staffs are also forced into isolation thereby reducing the workforce,” he said, adding only essential services workers would be allowed to travel between the zones.
Dikoloti said the number of cases would guide their decisions going forward as to when best to lift the ban.
“Batswana know that it is not the first time we face this, especially before the holidays. We should not find alternate routes to travel across zones. We should take responsibility and help save lives. We need [your] help Batswana to fight this disease together,” he highlighted.
The disease is spread through people’s movements, Dikoloti said, adding that since April they had minimised movement across zones. He encouraged people not to attempt applying for permits because any kind of interzonal movement has been banned with all existing permits revoked. He admitted that currently, they have a shortage of beds in both government and private hospitals. In turn, he said they had to convert wards into isolation sickrooms, particularly at the Princess Marina Referal Hospital.
For his part, the coordinator of the task team Dr Kereng Masupu said by regional record Greater Gaborone leads with high COVID-19 cases, followed by Greater Palapye and Greater Francistown. He added the COVID-19 variants, Alpha, Beta and now Delta, have shown the virus has mutated to become even deadlier. He indicated that the entire tested specimen shows that Delta is now sitting at more than 60% transmission rate. He said now that the spread of the disease is faster than ever, every Motswana should take greater care.