Botswana health authorities announced a spike in deaths caused by COVID-19 related illnesses.

Giving a weekly update on the state of the virus on Monday, Deputy coordinator of the Presidential Task Force for COVID-19 Professor Mosepele Mosepele said they recorded 11 deaths in a period of three days between 5-8 January 2021. This marks the highest number of deaths recorded in a short period since the first death was announced in April 2020.

The southern African country death toll from the virus currently stands at 58, which is amongst the lowest in the world.

However, Mosepele said the spike in deaths is worrying as they were recorded from several parts of the country where previously there were no deaths. “This shows that the virus has spread extensively to other parts of the country as evidenced by the number of confirmed cases recorded since the beginning of the year,” he said.

Mosepele said the high spread of the virus can be attributed to people travelling for holidays during the Christmas and New Year holidays. He said there was evidence that people were not obeying the COVID-19 prevention protocols during the holiday period, especially during public gatherings.

This prompted the government to impose a curfew last week and suspend the sale and consumption of alcohol until the end of January. Mosepele said they will keep monitoring the situation hoping that the spread of the virus will slow down with the current measures in place. He said if this fail, they will put in place more stringent measures to control the spread of the virus.

Botswana made an upfront payment for the vaccine through the COVAX facility in November 2020. However, Mosepele could not put a date when the country can expect the first badge of the vaccine. Enditem

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