Botswana has lifted the ban on the holding of public meetings, workshops and conferences but placed squarely on the shoulders of the organisers the responsibility of ensuring that such events do not result in a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.In an Extraordinary Government Gazette published on Monday night, health services director Malaki Tshipayagae said Batswana are now allowed to hold meetings, workshops and conferences provided that the gatherings “shall not have more than 75 persons in attendance at any time (and) a person shall not travel across COVID-19 zones for purposes of a meeting, workshop or conference.”
“A meeting, workshop or conference host may operate where he or she has satisfied the Director of Health Services, or any person authorised by the Director for that purpose, that he or she has the ability to comply with directions for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 issued by the Director of Health Services,” the notice said.
Some of the conditions to be satisfied by organisers of meetings, workshops and conference include the need for all participants at such gatherings to wear face masks, and should be provided by the host with clean water and soap or hand sanitizers.
Organisers should ensure observance of social distancing requirements of being at least two metres between the participants and should allow for 30-minute breaks every two hours during the meetings to enable ventilation of the facilities where the premises are enclosed.
The premises where such meetings, workshops or conferences would be taking place would be closed “where there is a reasonable suspicion that a person who has had accessed premises has come into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or that a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 has had access to the premises.”
For purposes of contact tracing, meeting organisers would be required to maintain registers containing the personal details and contact details of all persons accessing the premises, and the record would be open for inspection by health officials or law enforcement officers.
Botswana has so far recorded 399 COVID-19 cases and one death.