COVID19: Botswana Parliament in quarantine

All Botswana’s Members of parliament including President Mokgweetsi Masisi will be quarantined for a fortnight and tested for the coronavirus, after a health worker screening lawmakers became infected.

The health worker had checked the temperatures of some of the lawmakers on April 8 during a special sitting of parliament, which was called to debate a proposal by Masisi to extend a state of emergency to six months.

Health Minister Lemogang Kwape told parliamentarians on April 9 that the infected employee is one of seven new confirmed cases that brought the total of established cases to 13.

The health employée had not shown any symptoms but had just taken a routine test. Unfortunately, the result came late on April 8 after she was on duty at yesterday’s parliament session, Kwape explained to the Assembly, before lawmakers endorsed Masisi’s proposal to extend the state of emergency.

Director of Public Health Malaki Tshipayagae instructed all the lawmakers to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Masisi is himself a member of parliament and already had to self-isolate in March after a visit to Namibia.

The Members of the parliament have been given a possibility to self-isolate at home or be taken to facilities designated by the government.

Separately, regulations published in the government gazette on April 9 banned businesses to fire staff during the state of emergency.

Trade unions estimate that more than 20,000 workers have been laid off or placed on unpaid leave over the global coronavirus pandemic.

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