A health worker receives a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Francistown, Botswana, on March 26, 2021. (MONIRUL BHUIYAN / AFP)
GABORONE / MOSCOW – Wearing masks is no longer mandatory in Botswana, announced an official press release on Wednesday.
All other remaining COVID-19 protocols, like social distancing in schools and requirements for vaccination or PCR tests at ports of entry, have also been removed, said spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Christopher Nyanga, in the press release.
Despite the recent relaxation of COVID-19 protocols, Nyanga advised all citizens to exercise caution and continue to follow some protocols to protect their health.
The shelf life of most COVID-19 vaccines assessed by the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority was initially three to six months, but this has since been extended after additional stability data became available and was submitted to regulators worldwide, Botswanan Health and Wellness Minister Edwin Dikoloti said
Botswana reported 12 new cases and one death from Sept 11 to 17. The country has so far reported 326,286 COVID-19 cases with 2,781 deaths.
Separately, it is time for Botswana to rethink new ways of transforming tourism industry following the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which nearly brought the sector to its knees through job losses, an official has said.
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Job losses resulted in loss of income thereby compromising the livelihoods of the people in the southern African country, Philda Kereng, Botswana's Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation & Tourism, made the remarks in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, to mark the World Tourism Day, which fell on Tuesday.
"We therefore have to make efforts to ensure our tourism is smarter and more competitive for sustained growth so as to bring immense opportunities for socio-economic welfare and poverty alleviation among the communities," said Kereng.
Meanwhile, Botswanan Health and Wellness Minister Edwin Dikoloti has said that all vaccines used in the country are "safe" and comply with international standards and asked people to ignore false information spread by social media and other sources.
He made the remarks Tuesday in response to social media reports saying that the ministry was using expired COVID-19 vaccines on people.
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At a press briefing in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, he said that he was aware that there are some vaccines that have had their shelf lives extended by the manufacturers. "This has unfortunately led some people, including those in the health profession, to misinterpret this to mean that the vaccines have expired," Dikoloti said.
The shelf life of most COVID-19 vaccines assessed by the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority was initially three to six months, but this has since been extended after additional stability data became available and was submitted to regulators worldwide, Dikoloti said.
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MOSCOW – Russia has registered 40,017 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 20,909,731, the official monitoring and response center said Wednesday.
The nationwide death toll increased by 111 to 387,054, while the number of recoveries grew by 61,515 to 19,921,826, the center said.