The United Nations specialized agency responsible for international public health; World Health Organization (WHO) says the deadly Corona-virus menace is far from over, and that it is now getting worse.
The COVID-19 pandemic is worsening globally, with more than 136,000 cases recorded on Sunday last week- the highest number in a single day.
“More than six months into this pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal. This is the time for countries to continue to work hard, on the basis of science, solutions and solidarity”, said WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking on Monday during his regular briefing on the crisis.
WHO said more than 100,000 cases have been reported in the past 10 days, culminating in the highest one-day total so far on Sunday. Most cases came from 10 countries, mainly in the Americas and South Asia.
“Most countries in the African region are still experiencing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, with some reporting cases in new geographic areas, although most countries in the region have less than 1,000 cases. We also see increasing numbers of cases in parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia”, he said.
While encouraged by “positive signs” in some nations, head of WHO has warned against complacency as countries continue to confront COVID-19 and citizens grow weary of stay-at-home measures aimed at preventing the spread of the disease.
Tedros told journalists that although lockdowns and physical distancing have helped suppress transmission in many countries, the virus remains “extremely dangerous”. Most of the global population continue to be highly susceptible, which means the pandemic can easily re-ignite.
“One of the greatest dangers we face now is complacency. People in countries with stay-at-home orders are understandably frustrated with being confined to their homes for weeks on end”, he said.
“People understandably want to get on with their lives, because their lives and livelihoods are at stake. That’s what WHO wants too. And that’s what we are working for, all day, every day.” However, Tedros said moving forward will have to mean accepting “a new normal”, and forging a world that is healthier, safer and better prepared.
Countries are continuing to study asymptomatic cases, said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Technical Lead at the WHO. She explained that these patients, who experience very mild symptoms if any at all, rarely help to fuel the spread of COVID-19, according to reports from countries doing detailed contract tracing.
While WHO is continually gathering more information to truly understand this topic comprehensively, “it still appears to be rare that an asymptomatic individual actually transmits onward.” More important to containing the virus, said Van Kerkhove, is studying and tracing symptomatic cases, given their contribution to virus spread.
“If we actually followed all of the symptomatic cases, isolated those cases, follow the contacts and quarantine those contacts, we would drastically reduce transmission,” she said. “If we could focus on that, I think we would do very, very well in terms of suppressing transmission.”
Neighbouring South Africa is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of Corona-virus cases. The number which exceeded 50,000 on Monday is the highest in the African region, this is according to the latest data from World Health Organization.
The countries with the highest number of cases are; South Africa with 50,879, Egypt with 35,444, Nigeria with 12,486 and Algeria with 10,265, this as of Monday this week.
“As of today, the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is 50,879, the total number of deaths is 1,080 and the recoveries to date are 26, 099,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Twitter. President Cyril Ramaphosa said more than half of the cases have been seen in the past two weeks.
After originating in Wuhan, China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 188 countries and regions. The pandemic has killed more than 406,500 people worldwide, with more than 7.11 million confirmed cases, while recoveries have surpassed 3.29 million, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University of the US.
Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.
Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”
Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”
The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.
“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.
Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.
Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.
Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.
Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”
In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”
Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.
“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.
Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.
Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.
He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”
Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.
“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.
One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.
A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.
Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.
A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.”
Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.