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Coronavirus too close! Govt cancels trips

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 10 March 2020   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Kwape Kwape

Botswana Government has moved swiftly to tighten screws regarding international travels of government officials, including the President and cabinet ministers because of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Lemogang Kwape, confirmed in an interview that all international trips have been cancelled as a cautious precaution.

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“International trips and events have been cancelled as advised by World Health Organization and we are also following suit,” he said.

South African authorities confirmed one positive case in Kwazulu Natal on Thursday, a development that has made Botswana more vulnerable to the disease. However Dr Kwape maintained that they have everything under control.

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In April this year, Botswana is to host the Forbes under 30 Summit – making it the first country in Africa to host it but the outbreak of the coronavirus is threatening the event.

Dr Kwape said that they are monitoring the situation and a decision has not yet been made on whether to continue with the event or cancel it. With coronavirus cases confirmed in 84 countries, the prospect of Botswana making history by becoming first country in Africa to host the event are diminishing fast.

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Dr Kwape indicated that WHO has advised that most of the summits set for Africa be cancelled to try and contain the spread of COVID-19 outbreak.

The summit is expected to bring together 600 young entrepreneurs and game changers from Africa, Asia, Europe and the US for mentorship, networking and important conversations centred on sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship.

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With the outbreak of the virus in South Africa, Dr Kwape said they have increased surveillance and screening at all the points of entry.

“We advised that if anyone has been travelling from the affected countries they must quarantine themselves and if they suspect that they might be not feeling well, they must call 997 and not try and go to the doctor but they will come to them,” he advised.

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He said that they have reserved Ntshe Clinic in Francistown and Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital in Gaborone as isolation facilities.



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