“The advent of Covid-19 has exposed specific gaps in the capabilities of our laws, policies and regulations, in managing Covid-19. As such, a holistic assessment of the laws, to determine their adequacy or otherwise in managing COVID-19, is ongoing.”
The Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng has explained that there is an assessment of laws in regards to Covid-19 which aims to make sure there are proper policies of management. Morwaeng says this process will ensure that we have Covid-19 specific legislation across the sectors. Botswana is in a second State of Public Emergency. As I have already alluded, work has been ongoing to prepare for exiting the State of Emergency, as that is the ideal and ultimate intention.
Responding to the Member of Parliament for Bobonong Taola Lucas, Morwaeng explained that The State of Public Emergency was passed in line with Section 17 of the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana, for the purpose of mitigating the negative impact of Covid-19 which most feel has not really played its purpose. The Minister says that since the declaration of the State of Emergency in April 2020, measures are continuously being put in place and adjusted in line with the evolving nature of the disease. “To this effect, Government has been implementing Sectorial Plans facilitated by Ministries, Departments and Agencies. I am happy that we are now beginning to realize positive results,” he said.
He further said that the current statistics are raising their hopes as according to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, during the first half of August, 2021, ten thousand and fifty-seven (10,057) cases were recorded across all zones, which is a twenty- four percent (24.0) decrease from the preceding week. He states that this is the first time they witness a decline in the number of new infections. “In addition, the number of active cases which has been fluctuating overtime, now appears to have dropped from a peak of seventeen thousand three hundred and fifty-eight (17,358) on the 6th August to twelve-thousand, seven hundred and ninety-eight (12,798) as at 10th August 2021,” Morwaeng said.
Talking about the economy, Morwaeng did no refute the impacts of the virus and Indeed Covid-19 has undeniable negative economic effects, which he says is the reason why they are doing everything possible to mitigate its impact. “Covid-19 also has negative consequences beyond economic ones. These include death, emotional trauma, and a strain on the health sector,” he further explained. For this reason, Morwaeng explains as part of the Reset Agenda, they have prioritized saving lives of the citizenry adding that they hope for no reason for an extension of the current State of Public Emergency.
This though he says only science and the disease burden will inform us at the end of the current State of Public Emergency, as well as at any other point of need for decision making in future.