JAKARTADAILY.ID - Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi had to undergo mandatory self-isolation after a routine COVID-19 test returned positive, Reuters reported Monday (January 3, 2022).
Vice President Slumber Tsogwane will assume temporary powers While Masisi is in isolation, according to John-Thomas Dipowe, the country's acting permanent secretary for government communications.
"The president does not have any symptoms and will continue to receive close medical monitoring by his medical doctors," said Dipowe. "The self-isolation is a precautionary measure in accordance with Botswana's COVID-19 health protocols."
This is the first time Masisi has tested positive, although he has gone into self-isolation several times as a precautionary effort on some occasions.
Aside from the president, Botswana had once placed its entire cabinet and MPs back in isolation back in April 2020, following a health worker screening legislator for the virus was found to be infected.
The southern African country has detected an average of 2,500 cases every three days ever since the Omicron variant entered its borders. However, the number of hospitalizations and deaths has not spiked, according to health officials.
Some of the first cases were identified back in December 2021 in foreign diplomats who had traveled from Europe. In order to help combat the virus, the country had set up vaccine mandates on those who pass through its borders.
To date, Botswana has fully vaccinated 71 percent of its eligible population. Authorities have said that booster doses would be administered soon, with the age limit for vaccination reduced to 12 years old from 18 years old.