Omicron Variant: Adhere To COVID-19 Protocols, Public Urged

FILE PHOTO: Test tubes labelled "COVID-19 Test Positive" are seen in front of displayed words "OMICRON SARS-COV-2" in this illustration taken December 11, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
FILE PHOTO: Test tubes labelled "COVID-19 Test Positive" are seen in front of displayed words "OMICRON SARS-COV-2" in this illustration taken December 11, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

As the country is currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections, members of the public have been challenged to take greater responsibility and adhere to health protocols ahead of the festive season.

Late last month Botswana recorded cases of the new variant believed to be carrying an extremely high number of mutations, which may drive further waves of the disease by evading the body’s defences.

When sharing a message with the entire nation ahead of the festive season, the Minister of Health and Wellness, Edwin Dikoloti called on members of the public to take a position to not take part in increasing COVID-19 cases this festive season.

“Let us all commit to taking personal responsibility to be the light that will save our country from COVID-19. When each one of us could play our part. There is no way this disease can defeat us. We all have to be in one accord and all have to join hands in defeating this deadly disease and save ourselves and our children,” he said.

Dikoloti further encouraged all those still hesitating to go for COVID-19 vaccination to reflect once more on their position and think about their lives and those of their loved ones. Additionally, the minister advised them to seek more information from any health care facility nearer to them.

He disclosed to have launched the ‘ke nna ke wena’ campaign that will run for a period of three months being from December to February with the hope that it will help the ministry to promote behaviour change and continue creating demand for COVID-19 vaccines for the unvaccinated.

“We want to encourage all those eligible for vaccination but are not yet vaccinated to immediately visit the nearest vaccination site and receive their lifesaving jab. We also want to encourage all those who took the first dose but are due for the second dose and have not taken it to approach the nearest vaccination site for their second dose,” he said.

Moreover, Dikoloti pleaded with community leaders to also help the ministry and get people vaccinated.

“Together we can defeat this virus, scientific evidence continues to show us that COVID-19 can only be prevented by vaccination and observing all protocols of washing hands with clean water and soap or sanitizing, wearing masks in public and social distancing,” he said.

He further revealed that their strategy for bringing Batswana on board to help the ministry to help them (the entire population) to be safe from COVID-19 is premised on a behavioural change communication approach. He stated that this approach is believed to be the cornerstone of COVID-19 risk communication and community engagement.

Dikoloti explained that the approach encourages individuals and communities to introspect and analyse their conduct adhering to stipulated prevention measures and adopting behaviours that will facilitate prevention of COVID-19 transmission.

“We want to encourage Batswana and residents of this country to take the utmost care of themselves and their loved ones during this festive season. We know that we are at the time of the year when many will be visiting their loved ones while some have plans to host some joyous celebrations. Despite this, we want everyone to come back alive and healthy. The fourth wave is upon us,” Dikoloti said.

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