Since January this year, around 8 000 people have entered Botswana coming from the top ten countries with the highest number of confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and deaths, increasing risks especially for immigration and aviation employees.However no infections have been confirmed, Government has said.
Since January this year, around 8 000 people have entered Botswana (and still counting), coming from the top ten countries with the highest number of confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and deaths, increasing risks especially for immigration and aviation employees, The Botswana Gazette has established.
IMMIGRATION, AVIATION WORKERS AT RISK OF COVID-19
Bome Matshaba, Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration & Gender Affairs said as the first persons of contact at ports of entry, immigration officers and aviation employees are highly at risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus.
Air Botswana has over 250 employees, most of which are employed at airports while some are flight operators and crew. Most, according to Matshaba, are at risk of contracting Coronavirus. So are the Immigration workers who are reportedly over 400. Together with customs employees at the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS), they are highly at risk.
Asked on what the Ministry is doing to ensure the safety of the employees, he said measures like availing hand sanitizers, gloves and masks have been put in place.
He said his Ministry is working closely with the Ministry of Health and Wellness. At Air Botswana, PR and Communications Manager Kefilwe Kebafetotse said in light of the COVID-19 outbreak a Rapid Response Team has been formed to supplement the usual Airport Steering Committee. Arising from this forum, is the Communicable Disease Response Procedures (CDRP), which Air Botswana adheres to. Additionally, she said the Airline is implementing its Operations Manual on Managing Communicable Diseases (OMCD). Interventions and precautionary measures emanating from the CDRP and OMCD include; screening processes at all local Airports, training crews on managing suspected passengers and the provision of hand sanitizers. Further some measures include deep cleaning of aircrafts and spraying cabins with insecticides.
8000 PEOPLE FROM TOP TEN CORONA AFFECTED COUNTRIES ARE IN BOTSWANA
In an interview with this publication, Bome Matshaba, Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration & Gender Affairs said 7 985 people entered into Botswana coming from the top ten countries with leading confirmed cases of Coronavirus. The Botswana Gazette asked Matshaba to share the total number of people who arrived into Botswana for a period of between 1st January and 11 March 2020, whose original departures were from China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, USA, Japan and Switzerland, the top ten countries with extreme cases of Coronavirus.
China witnessed more than 3,000 deaths and approximately 74 percent of the global coronavirus cases as of 09 March, which quickly came down to approximately 58 percent by 13 March as the number of cases in rest of the world surged and Europe became the new epicenter.
Matshaba said 840 people from China alone arrived into Botswana between January 1st and 11 March 2020.
Coronavirus is getting severe in Italy, making it the most-affected in Europe as well as outside Asia. Travel to Italy and Italians travelling to other countries during the outbreak has been traced to have caused COVID-19 spread. Once confined to Northern Italy, COVID-19 cases have spread to entire Italy leading to a nation-wide lock-down. The Italian government’s early measures such as closing educational institutions temporarily might have limited the spread, although the aged population continues to be a concern.
Coronavirus deaths in Italy increased by five times in the second week of March, from 366 on 08 March to 1,809 on 15 March. Total cases reached 24,747. There are however, 242 people in Botswana who came from Italy, while one person came from Iran, which has approximately 14,000 confirmed cases and has reported 724 deaths.
Coronavirus cases in South Korea started surging in February and crossed 8,200 on 16 March.
Deaths due to corona virus in South Korea reached 75. By 1 March 2020, 864 people coming from South Korea were in Botswana. Further, 171 people came to Botswana from Spain, while 452 came from France.
Spain recorded more than 7,750 by 15 March. A minister in Spain has contracted Coronavirus.
Spain is currently the second most-affected European country with corona virus. Spanish corona virus death toll too has increased sharply to exceed 300 resulting in a nation-wide lock-down affecting millions of its residents. In France, cases have reached 5,423, while death toll exceeds 127. In USA confirmed cases exceed 4,000, while the death toll exceeds 70. Over 3008 people arrived from USA into Botswana from 1st January to 11 March.
Further, 399 people and 245 people came from Japan and Switzerland, respectively. Japan reported 697 COVID-19 cases as of 13 March, while Swizterland reported 2,200 cases by 15 March.