WE HAVE A KNEE ON COVID-19 SO FAR

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 28 July 2020   |   By Ignatious Njobvu
WE HAVE A KNEE ON COVID-19 SO FAR

Giving credit where it is due can only develop and grow us to our fullest potential. The COVID~19 Presidential task force, the Government of Botswana, all public health officials and many other front-liners, and most importantly Batswana in general, have so far suffocated what could have been the most unthinkable, devastating impact from the novel coronavirus that causes COVID~19. We seem to be in control of the abnormal situation, and the virus seem to be struggling to find its foothold. We are certainly not playing catch-up, rather it is the virus that Batswana are vehemently refusing to welcome. Under the able leadership of the COVID~19 task force, Botswana remains one of the less infested countries.

Just last week, two of my neighbour’s children (8 years and 7 years) were playing a ‘word spelling’ game. The 8-year-old asked the 7-year-old to spell the word ‘DEBT’. That caught my attention as I assume the word to be a bit difficult to spell especially for a child at that age. It was now the turn for the 7-year-old to put forth a word to be spelled. She asked the 8-year-old to spell the word ‘PRECAUTION’. Before attempting to spell the word, the 8-year-old sought for clarification. He wanted to confirm the context of the word, so he asked ‘Is this the same word that is associated with Coronavirus nowadays?’ Yes, the girl replied. The 8-year-old went on to spell the word correctly. This can only mean one thing, that public education is very effective in so far as preventing COVID~19 is concerned. I must therefore appreciate the good job done by the media in general for relentlessly publishing precautionary measures and related news to the public.

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It is said that when the rhythm of the drum-beat changes, the dancing steps ought to change too. So true is this statement that our strategy for containment of the disease has changed several times. We once had extreme social distancing, which resulted in closing down of many industries except the frontline officials. We then gradually relaxed some of the restrictions. Today, we still have controlled movements within COVID~19 zones. We are also strictly adhering to the health protocols on a daily basis as dictated by the health authorities. I take it that these changes in strategy are a response to the manifestation of the virus. And so far we seem to be doing exceptionally well as a country relatively.

We are not yet off the hook though. The virus seems to be going no-way any time soon. We are yet to eradicate it completely, hence the restrictions and the health protocols in place. Though statistics depicts small numbers, we are still hearing of new infections that are being registered. Globally, the disease seems to be setting new records on new infections and deaths. When writing this opinion, the global infection rate was at over 13 million and over half a million deaths (CNN). This is a sad reality. I do not even think that any type of missile can claim such amount of lives. My worst fear is that the experts are predicting a much worse situation before it can get better. The end to this tunnel is not clearly lit for now. Some countries are even resorting to going back to extreme social distancing. Some are going back to minimizing access to entertainment outlets and consumption of alcohol. Not that I am bragging, but we seem to be normalising as a country. But I am very much aware that such restrictions can be effective again should the situation determine so.

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At a time when most countries are feeling the most devious effects of the novel coronavirus, Botswana seems to be in control of the unknown situation. It is hard to be what you cannot see. Nobody quits what they can control. Instead of quitting the struggle, Batswana refuse to be dictated to by the disease. They listen and act as prescribed by the leadership of the COVID~19 Presidential task force. On the other hand, we need to encourage those that are seemingly not adhering to the protocols. Let us take responsibility for our health and the health of other people. Our new normal still remains effective, let us constantly wash our hands, observe social distancing and wear our masks.

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