A MESSAGE TO BATSWANA AMID COVID-19

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3 April 2020

Dumelang Bagaetsho

Warm greetings to you from the Botswana Embassy team here in Washington D.C.
March has come and gone, leaving its mark in so many unprecedented ways. As we now move into April, reasons for concern and anxiety are likely to increase as we prepare for a dramatic rise in illness and loss of life, and at the same time struggle to cope with the inability to exercise control over our daily lives while endeavouring to safeguard the health, safety and economic futures of ourselves and our families, both here and back home in Botswana.

I am sure that you have been closely following the events at home this week, following the announcement on Monday of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. As we, in North America, have now had some time to adapt to our “new normal”, it is critical that, in our interactions with family members and friends in Botswana, we emphasize the importance of maintaining strict compliance with the directives and guidelines issued by government and private-sector leaders, particularly those focused on stay-at-home measures, social distancing, and constant hand washing.

Please be aware that, although the Embassy building is currently closed, all of our diplomatic staff will continue to work from home until further notice. In this regard, please contact one of the following officers depending on the nature of your particular enquiry:

• For consular services: [email protected] (202 766 8314)
• For education enquiries: [email protected] (202 465 5306)
• For general enquiries: [email protected] (202 445 8051)

As you are aware, public health experts have cautioned us that the next few weeks will be critical in controlling the extent of the pandemic, and that we must expect the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to increase significantly before the curve begins to flatten out. Nevertheless, we will come through this daunting period, and hopefully learn valuable lessons along the way. In the meantime, please keep as physically and mentally active as possible, display kindness and patience, and adopt as positive a mindset as you can muster. It is incredible how much humanity and humour continues to emerge despite this global crisis, which is testament to the strength of the human spirit to overcome adversity.

I am enclosing copies of the following documents that I hope you will find useful, including details of the Botswana Government’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, set up to receive financial contributions from individuals and the private sector to assist in the fight against the spread of the virus and to mitigate its economic impact on Batswana:

1. Press Release on the COVID-19 Relief Fund
2. United Nations (Botswana) Information Package on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic
3. National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) Bulletin
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Re a leboga

David Newman
Ambassador
Embassy of Botswana
Washington D.C.