Gaborone: The Government of Botswana has requested legislators to approve a 6-month state of public emergency to curb the spread of coronavirus in the South African country.
Statistics on the coronavirus world meter as at April 9, 2020 reveals that Botswana has thirteen (13) cases with only one (1) death.
A statement published on the official Botswana twitter account states that “The Government has taken the view that a declaration of six months state of emergency will accord sufficient time to allow the marshaling of what is needed to succeed in the fight.”
On April 2, President Mokgweetsi Masisi signed the emergency powers regulation requiring all non-essential workers to remain home for 3 weeks and all citizens to respect social distancing rules. The government now wants the emergence rules extended to 6 months.
Vice President Slumber Tsogwane on Wednesday presented a motion on the endorsement of the state of public emergency as suggested by the president, saying the country is grappling with the rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Botswana reached six, with one recorded death. But the government says there is need for urgent and necessary steps to be taken to protect the public from the virus.
Tsogwane said the COVID-19 threat in Botswana has escalated as neighboring countries have seen a rapid rise in confirmed cases.
South Africa, one of Botswana’s neighbors, has over 1,800 confirmed cases, and 18 deaths from the virus. Eswatini has 12 confirmed cases and no deaths.
Since emerging last December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions.
There are more than 1.49 million confirmed infections worldwide, with over 87,400 deaths, according to U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. More than 317,600 patients have recovered.
All Botswana MPs placed under mandatory quarantine
Gaborone– As tally rises to 13 confirmed Covid-19, all MPs placed under quarantine
All sixty-nine (69) 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, April 9, 2020 confirming that seven new cases had been recorded in the southern African country bringing the national tally to thirteen.
A government statement reveals that, amongst the cases is a health worker who contracted the virus while on duty during a Parliament session, where health professionals were advising Parliament on how they were to proceed considering the virus outbreak. With consideration that the health worker interacted with the parliamentarians, the lawmakers have placed the worker under compulsory quarantine.
President Masisi was in early April released from self-quarantine after he travelled to Namibia for the swearing in of his counterpart Hage Geingob. 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.