Locals want ban on Indian travellers

Daniel Chida
WORRIED: Dr Tshabang

Member of Parliament for Nkange, Dr Never Tshabang, has criticised the government for the favouritism, he says, is being given to Indian nationals visiting Botswana.

Tshabang’s comments follow an outcry by Batswana who feel the Indians have been allowed to come into the country despite a devastating COVID-19 variant (B.1.617) surge that has shattered global records for new cases.

Locals have also complained of imposed travel restrictions, yet Indians from a red zone country are allowed to enter the country.

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In an interview with The Voice, Dr Tshabang said that the Indians were receiving preferential treatment in Botswana, mainly because their businesses are the main sponsors of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.

“It is payback time as they demand that their relatives from India be given special treatment over Batswana. Before we know it they would have taken over the country, just as they have taken over the economy and land.”

Tshabang said that the influx of Indians fleeing the Coronavirus in their native country increases the risk of locals having a quick spread of the Covid-19 third wave, which is believed to be more dangerous than the previous ones.

MP for Mahalapye West, David Tshere said they were more likely going to push for a full investigation as to how people coming from an area with a higher disease burden were allowed freely into the country without following the set protocols.

Locals want ban on Indian travellers
MP for Mahalapye West: David Tshere

“I don’t want to sound overly discriminating people of India. I think initially government had a good response to the variant first identified in India. The plan was to quarantine all international travellers from India for a period not exceeding 10 days and get them checked for the virus after seven days. This was a good plan, but obviously, that didn’t happen.”

Tshere said that according to reports they have been receiving, there has been an influx of people coming from India in the recent days, apparently, family members of the resident Indians and most did not go through the outlined protocol.

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“I do not think it would have been undiplomatic for government to have temporarily halted any movement between India and Botswana,” he explained. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Wellness’s spokesperson, Christopher Nyanga, dismissed suggestions that there has been an influx of people coming from India.

He referred this publication to a recently released press statement which says, all those who have travelled or transited through areas of high risk as previously communicated on 3rd May 2021 upon return, shall immediately quarantine in a central area to be identified by the Ministry for a period not exceeding ten (10) days and repeat Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test after seven days of quarantine.

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