Funerals proceedings are no longer allowed to take more than two hours and are limited to not more than 50 people, Maun West Member of Parliament (MP), Dumelang Saleshando, has told Maun residents.
The MP and Vice President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) said this at Thito kgotla in Maun on Wednesday morning during one of his consultative meetings with selected village leaders, including tribal leaders, Village Development Committees and Parent-Teacher Associations.
“Because of the highly contagious and deadly coronavirus, the government is trying to reduce the risk of infection by limiting numbers of people gathered in one place. Food is no longer allowed to be served at funerals. Within two hours, the funeral programme should be done and the gathering dispersed. The two hours is inclusive of viewing of the corpse up to the dispersing of mourners,” Saleshando explained.
As the coronavirus continues to claim thousands of lives the world over and looms large outside Botswana’s borders, with all of our neighbouring countries having recorded cases of the virus, Saleshando has been criticised – on the sidelines – for putting people at risk by calling them to these meetings.
However, he had stated that his meetings are specifically to enlighten community leaders on the virus as a way to help curb impending spread.
“As it is, we are supposed to be, at most, 10 people gathered here. But we are slightly more than that because we – visitors – have added to your numbers. But it is important that this message is shared with you,” he reiterated.
Saleshando also told the meeting about the world situation, especially about high risk countries such as Italy whose mortuaries are overcrowded with corpses such that there is no longer room for any more bodies.
“Bodies are no longer buried but cremated as a result. We should stop thinking that this is a white man’s disease and act ignorantly because we would otherwise find ourselves in the same state as Italy. We have to practice precautionary measures and religiously respect and follow guidelines from health officials.”
The health officials were present at the same meeting and Dr Sandra Maripe, who heads the Public Health Division of the District Health Management Team, was keen to dispel some of the common myths about coronavirus.
“Garlic does not heal coronavirus, coronavirus is not a whiteman’s disease because it affects all races. There is this common belief that places with high temperatures like Maun are safe from coronavirus, that is not true! coronavirus can survive and kill people in high temperatures,” warned Maripe.