Fri, 25 Sep 2020

GABORONE, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- In efforts to determine the extent of the spread of COVID-19 in communities, Botswana will start surveillance testing of the virus next week.

The announcement was made by the Director of Health Services Malaki Tshipayagae on a local radio station on Saturday.

Tshipayagae said they have already identified health facilities around the country where people will be tested randomly and they intend to conduct around 20,000 tests monthly.

Botswana has been concentrating their testing at the country's entry points and on contact tracing of those who have already tested positive for the virus.

The move has worked well for the country having registered majority of its confirmed cases having been recorded at borders.

However, a recent surge in local transmissions has forced health authorities to change strategy with regards to testing at it shows the virus is now spreading with communities.

There has been over a 100 percent increase in confirmed local cases in the past two weeks, which resulted in the capital city Gaborone being put under a two-week lockdown that ended last Thursday.

Addressing the nation on Thursday, Health and Wellness Minister Lemogang Kwape said the increase in local cases, especially within schools was a great concern for health authorities as the pattern of the virus spread has now changed.

For the first time since the country registered its first confirmed case in March, number of local cases surpassed that of foreign nationals registered at borders.

In the latest figures released this week, there are 360 confirmed local cases of COVID-19, with 120 recoveries, 237 remain active and three deaths.

Botswana put hold of plans to conduct community testing back in June when the entire country was on lockdown, with health officials citing then that they will emphasize of testing at the borders.

Being landlocked at the heart of southern Africa, Botswana provides an important trade route from South Africa to the rest of the region that sees thousands of trucks transiting through the country daily.

More South Africa News

Access More

Sign up for South Africa News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!