Botswana’s President, Cabinet Members and MPs Placed Under Quarantine over Coronavirus

Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi

The entire Cabinet and members of Parliament of Botswana have been put under quarantine due to a possibility that some could have been infected by a coronavirus positive nurse who screened them prior to their sitting on Wednesday.

The screening was conducted on Cabinet members and the lawmakers on Wednesday as they arrived for a meeting to discuss a request by the country’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi to extend the ongoing state of emergency.

However, on Thursday morning, the country’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Lemogang Kwape said Botswana had confirmed seven more Covid-19 cases including the nurse who was on duty at Wednesday’s Parliament session and did the usual screening.

This prompted the Public Health Director, Malaki Tshipayagae to tell all the lawmakers, including the president that they will go into quarantine starting Thursday for 14 days.

“You have to quarantine at home if you can or, if that’s not possible, we will find a place for you to be quarantined. We will test you on the 14th day and if you are negative, allow you to go out of quarantine,” Tshipayagae said.

Health professionals are currently advising Parliament on how they are to proceed considering that some of the members who interacted with the nurse, had interacted with their family and friends afterwards.

Botswana’s confirmed number of coronavirus cases now stands at 13. President Masisi has called for a six-month state of emergency to confront the pandemic. Botswana’s constitution provides for a 21-day state of emergency, with parliamentary approval required for any longer period.

It is anticipated that Botswana Parliament will later today vote on the extension.

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