Africa, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Botswana’s president in self-isolation after trip

Country has so far not reported any COVID-19 infections but its neighbors have multiple cases

Hassan Isilow   | 23.03.2020
Botswana’s president in self-isolation after trip

South Africa


Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi has gone into self-isolation for 14 days after returning from a trip to neighboring Namibia, the presidency said Sunday in a statement.

Masisi took an emergency official trip to Namibia on Saturday to attend a meeting with other regional heads of state to discuss measures put in place by countries bordering Botswana to fight the novel coronavirus.

"The rationale for the imposition of self-isolation is that while Namibia has registered three imported cases and is considered low risk for SARS-CoV-2 transmission at the time of His Excellency the President's trip to Namibia, the low testing rates in the region make that determination difficult and there is a high possibility of undetermined local transmission," the statement said.

The communique further stated that during the time of self-isolation, the president will be tested for the novel coronavirus prior to being cleared.

“His Excellency the President will, as such, be working from his official residence but quarantined away from his family. The Director of Health Services has extended the same impositions to the rest of the entourage that travelled with His Excellency the President to Namibia,” the communique said.

The novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 169 countries and regions, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

There are 336,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with the death toll over 14,600, while more than 98,000 have recovered.

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