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Botswana records first Covid-19 death


The deceased had travelled to Motswedi near Zeerust in South Africa on 14 March and returned home on 15 March.

RUSTENBURG  – Botswana has recorded its first coronavirus death, vice president Slumber Tsogwane said on Tuesday, during a live television broadcast.

He said the deceased, the fourth confirmed case in Botswana, was a 79-year-old woman from Ramotswa whose results came after her death. She died on 25 March.

She had travelled to Motswedi near Zeerust in South Africa on 14 March and returned home on 15 March.

“She started showing symptoms on 21 March and later developed a fever. On her return from Motswedi she was kept in quarantine at home from where she was brought to Bamalete Lutheran Hospital.”

She was buried with the necessary precautions of someone suspected to have a highly infectious disease.

Tsogwane said contact tracing is currently under way and so far 14 people have been identified, quarantined and tested for Covid-19. The results for the 14 are pending.

On Monday Botswana confirmed its first three Covid-19 cases. The first case was a 47-year-old man, who travelled to the United Kingdom on 29 February and returned on 21 March. At the time of arrival he was asymptomatic.

He developed a fever, coughing and shortness of breath. He was tested on Saturday, a week after his return, at the National Health Laboratory (NHL) and his test was also referred to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa.

The second case was a 40-year-old woman and the third case was her 42-year-old husband. They travelled to Thailand on 10 March and returned to Botswana on 20 March. 

They took a flight from Thailand to SSKI (Sir Seretse Khama International Airport) via Dubai and then OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa.

She developed a sore throat, was coughing and had a headache, while her husband presented with coughing and a high temperature. Both were swabbed on Friday and their tests were done at the NHL and also referred to the NICD.

Botswana President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi declared a public state of emergency on Tuesday, in an attempt to arrest the spread of Covid-19.

“As we face this challenge I call upon you my countryman to stand together in unity as we fight this scourge. We, together shall prevail. We have done this before and we shall do it again,” he said.

The state of emergency comes into effect from midnight on 2 April until further notice. – ANA