Government says the lifting of international travel restrictions is expected to stimulate the suffering economy although there is still an increase in the number of cases of people with COVID-19.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Edwin Dikoloti told the media that the decision to resume international travel in Botswana was, in part, informed by critical measures which are determinants of a holistic health outcome of individuals, communities and the population at large.
Dikoloti observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected countries and individuals differently.
“We witnessed economic challenges, individual job insecurity, disruption of social and leisure activities which affect the psycho-social wellbeing including mental health of individuals and communities,” said Dikoloti.
He believes that this lifting is not going to be easy on the health sector adding that people should limit non-essential travel and take full responsibility of their individual health and that of the nation at large. He also said in proceeding as has been decided, people should be aware that there is potential risk when considering importation or exportation of cases in the context of international travel.
“We recognize the need to re-invent our response to this new development ensuring our activities are timely and efficient in monitoring disease both internally and externally to maintain the desired continued disease control within Botswana,” said Dikoloti.
He further stated that as the ministry by social responsibility and accountability, they refer to full acceptance, adherence, compliance and high uptake of the social measures in the control of COVID-19 prevention (hand hygiene, use of face mask and avoid unnecessary movement). He believes that if done, this will translate into desired population impact outcome of flattening the epidemic curve.
He observed that countries which have been successful in controlling COVID-19 which are New Zealand, Seychelle have been characterized by sustained high uptake of social measures at population level and that these strategies have been proved to be very effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
“We recognize within the country that communities are under-going intervention fatigue as marked by noncompliance at various level on the known prevention strategies, but we have to acknowledge what has worked for us (as a country) and improve on it,” said Dikoloti
He stated that a case in point is that when compared with other countries in the region and internationally the mortality related to COVID-19 remains below 1 percent, adding that this is a very important issue in the context of the limited public health resources.