April 23, 2020 / 8:57 AM / a month ago

Botswana's president, lawmakers out of quarantine after testing negative for coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs/File Photo

GABORONE (Reuters) - President Mokgweetsi Masisi and all of Botswana’s lawmakers have been released from two weeks in quarantine after testing negative for the coronavirus, a senior official said on Thursday.

They had been asked to quarantine for 14 days and be tested after a health worker screening the lawmakers for the virus tested positive. [nL5N2BX54R]

“All members of parliament have tested negative for COVID-19 and they are being released from quarantine,” Kereng Masupu, coordinator of the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force, told a news briefing.

Botswana, which has implemented a state of emergency and lockdown to stem the spread of the COVID-19 respiratory disease which the coronavirus can cause, has tested 5,023 people for the virus so far.

The southern African country has reported 22 confirmed cases, including eight instances of local transmission. One person has died after contracting the coronavirus.

Some lawmakers had been moved into supervised quarantine after failing to observe the instruction to self-isolate. Botswana dismissed two senior health officials on Wednesday without disclosing the reason. [nL5N2BY0OB][nL5N2CA2FD]

Reporting by Brian Benza; editing by Emma Rumney and Timothy Heritage

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