Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) chief whip in the National Assembly, Liakiat Kablay says he is disappointed that the Presidential Task Team has not come forth to brief Parliament on the issue of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.
The General Assembly was held on Thursday and it is the last one before Parliament closes today (Friday).
The country has been registering low new COVID-19, cases but the numbers spiralled out of control this week after over 2,000 new ones were registered in a space of four days.
“We cannot ignore the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is back and the Presidential Task team must brief Parliament or General Assembly on their strategy to deal with the virus. Things cannot go normal as if there is no disease,” Kablay said in an interview on Thursday.
“If Parliament or General Assembly is not briefed, then we as Members of Parliament (MPs) believe that the Task Team is managing and therefore, it won’t expect special Parliament to be convened quickly. My concern is that during the festive season, some people become reckless and they will not to adhere to health protocols.”
He added that some of the things that concern him are that Parliament has not also been briefed by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Edwin Dikoloti on how prepared the country’s hospitals are to deal with COVID-19.
The BDP chief whip revealed that health facilities have been experiencing some challenges such as hospital beds amongst others.
He said normally some people when the task team wants to brief Parliament, they start to think of State of Public Emergency while the committee wants to update them on some of the challenges the country is likely to face and measures that could be put in place to arrest the situation.
Kablay said if the issue of the rise in COVID-19 cases is not dealt with earlier, then the country will soon register a number of death cases as it happened previously.
“The government should find ways of dealing with entertainment times. We cannot have a situation where clubs and bars operate as usual when we know that some people are not adhering to health protocols at these areas. We are the ruling party, therefore, we need to protect the lives of our people. It is our responsibility to make sure that we help the task team to achieve its goals in fighting the spread of COVID-19,” he added.
Kablay pleaded with the Minister of Health and Wellness to address MPs on the matter before Parliament closes today.