President Mokgweetsi Masisi has ‘escaped’ being quarantined for the fifth time on Saturday when new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emerged from the Presidential COVID- 19 Task Team.
The task team informed the public that coordinator Dr Kereng Masupu tested positive for the virus. Masisi, who has been quarantined four times already, had held a meeting with Cabinet at the same place as the task team held theirs last Monday.
Masisi further ‘met’ with the deputy coordinator Professor Mosepele Mosepele on the same day as his results were announced.
Masisi posted on Facebook last Monday that he had a meeting with Cabinet at Gamononyane lands near Metsimotlhabe and that the COVID-19 Task Force meeting was also going to be held there after that of Cabinet. When news broke that Masupu, scientific advisor Dr Mogomotsi Matshaba and others in the Task Force office had tested positive, Batswana expressed concern about their President’s status. They quizzed on social media.
In a rather surprising move, Masisi on Saturday met with Mosepele who was at the time awaiting his COVID- 19 results. This was after Mosepele shocked the nation by tendering his resignation from the Task Force on Friday. Masisi would then reject the resignation and requested a meeting with Mosepele.
Mosepele, following his decision to rescind his resignation from the Task Force broke the news that Masupu and others had tested positive. In the press release he announced that he and Dr Malaki Tshipayagae, the director of Health Services, had tested negative and that follow up tests would be conducted for those who tested negative. Quizzed about whether Mosepele’s meeting with Masisi was physical or virtual and how long it lasted,
He referred The Monitor to Mosepele for any further questions relating to COVID-19. Mosepele’s phone rang unanswered and neither did he respond to text messages sent to him.
Tshipayagae referred The Monitor to Task Force communications specialist, Kago Mmopi. Mmopi requested that questions be sent to him via WhatsApp, as he stated that they were “busy at the office” and would respond when he found the time. By press time he had not responded to the questions.
The Monitor had wanted to establish why the President was not quarantined taking into consideration his working proximity with the Task Force. The Monitor also wanted to establish how Masisi met with Mosepele, who was still due for follow-up tests.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Lemogang Kwape could only go as far as stating that they have not been told to self-isolate or go for quarantine, but emephasised that they are taking precautionary measures just as all Batswana have been advised to do so in respect of the lockdown and COVID-19 regulations. Kwape said they would depend on the guidance of health specialists should there be need for them to be quarantined.