All sixty-nine lawmakers in Botswana have been placed under compulsory quarantine by the Director of Health Services Dr Malaki Tshipayagae. The parliament referred to as the National Assembly comprises 65 members of Parliament including the president and speaker.
The move follows a report given to the Minister of Health on Thursday confirming that seven new cases had been recorded in the southern African country bringing the national tally to thirteen.
“Amongst the cases is a healthworker who was on duty at yesterday’s Parliament session. Health professionals are currently advising Parliament on how they are to proceed considering that some of the members interacted with the health worker,” a government statement added.
President Masisi was in early April released from self quarantine after he travelled to Namibia for the swearing in of his counterpart Hage Geingob. At the time Namibia had recorded cases and Botswana had yet to record a case. The president’s test result returned negative allowing him to resume duties at his office.
The country is currently under a state of emergency with a raft of measures being enforced to curb the spread and increase containment efforts of the virus. Of the now thirteen cases on record, one death has been recorded.
President Masisi at an extraordinary meeting of parliament today stressed the importance of the emergency laws in a time as this. He assured MPs that no aspect of the laws would be abused.
“I, Mokgweetsi Masisi did not seek the Presidency of this country for reasons of ruling by decree; I did not campaign for election as President of this celebrated democracy for me to erode civil liberties upon coming into office;
“It is in this spirit that I pledge, and So Help Me God, that I intend using the declaration of the State of Emergency, solely for the purpose of protecting our people against the decimating potentials of the Novel COVID-19 virus,” he told lawmakers.