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COVID-19: Panic grips Parliament

GOITSEMODIMO KAELO
Director of National Health Services Dr Malaki Tshipayagae PIC: MONIRUL BHUIYAN/PRESSPHOTO
Panic and anxiety engulfed Parliament earlier this morning after a nurse assigned to do screening during the Special Parliamentary Meeting tested positive for COVID-19.

The Minister of Health and Wellness Lemogang Kwape announced on Thursday morning that the country has seven new confirmed cases, one of them being a nurse who was assigned to perform screening of Members of Parliament (MP) at the ongoing cratosslot meeting.

The said nurse works in Block 8 clinic in Gaborone, which has been one of the isolation areas. 

Following Kwape’s announcement, Parliament’s business was disturbed as the House was divided on what should happen. The House shifted attention as MPs spent the better part of the morning debating on whether to continue with business of the day or adjourn immediately.

Director of National Health Services Dr Malaki Tshipayagae assured the House to continue with their business of the day and be quarantined after., Some bahis siteleri MPs were not in agreement.

Tshipayagae said they could facilitate by giving the MPs masks while they carried out their business.

Other MPs, especially from the opposition side were of the view that Parliament should adjourn because they have been exposed.

Leader of Opposition and MP for Dumelang Saleshando said health protocols on containing the spread of COVID-19 specifies that all contacts of a confirmed case should be quarantined. 

“By interacting here after being kaçak iddaa exposed, are we not increasing the spread? We are not aware who has the virus now among us as we sit here. So

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we cannot ignore the health protocols. Is it a risk worth taking? I say we should adjourn,” said Saleshando. 

His colleague in the opposition MP for Mahalapye West David Tshere said it was surprising that the President was pushing for his request for Parliament to have the State of Public Emergency passed while they have been exposed. 

He said this raises suspicion that government wants to use the situation to scare Parliament into giving him what he wants. 

However, on the other side of the isle Botswana Democratic Party MPs wanted the Parliament to carry on with its business of the day. 

Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng said since the House is already exposed, it could complete the business of the day before being quarantined at the end.

Morwaeng said health protocols could still be followed under this circumstance to allow Parliament to carry out its mandate. 

“If we don’t, complete the business of the deneme bonusu day, where is the director of health going to get the resources he needs to fight this virus?” asked Morwaeng. 

“I understand that we are already exposed and we are in agreement that we should be put under quarantine. But let us finish what we are here for and then later on, do as directed by health officials,” the Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, Mpho Balopi added.



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