Botswana warns public against use of unauthorized drugs to treat COVID-19

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Authorities in Botswana have cautioned sections of the public against advocating for the use of unauthorized medicines to treat the coronavirus.

“In view of this development, the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority (BoMRA) is the regulating body that can determine if the usage of a particular drug is safe for use or not. Government and the political leadership can only give suggestions and opinions, but the final decision rests with BoMRA as stated by law,” the government said in a statement on Friday.

A person receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The Botswana government warned sections of the public against advocating for the use of unapproved medicines to treat COVID-19. /VCG

“It is our wish that the authority be given the necessary time to follow all channels that are appropriate and applicable to approve drugs as per drug regulatory protocol guidelines.”

There has been concern among countries across the continent, such as Zimbabwe recently, that with a more intense wave of infections and deaths, citizens may resort to unapproved remedies to try and treat COVID-19.

The government also reported that more than 120,000 people had been fully vaccinated while more than 200,000 people had received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The southern African nation began the second phase of its vaccination campaign on Thursday for persons aged 30-54, but will initially target those aged 45-54 to avoid overcrowding.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi recently urged citizens to get COVID-19 vaccines when their turn came, noting that all vaccines had been tested and approved by the relevant authorities.

Botswana is battling a deadly new wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths which has forced the government to implement tougher restrictions across the country such as the closure of schools for a month and suspension of inter-zonal movement.

Botswana has so far reported more than 91,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 1,300 deaths.

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