BY MOSES MATENGA
HEALTH and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo has said government will not force President Emmerson Mnangagwa into self-quarantine following a trip to Namibia at the weekend.
Mnangagwa attended the inauguration of Namibian President Hage Geingob last Saturday together with several other regional leaders.
After the inauguration, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi announced he had gone into self-isolation for a period of 14 days and would work from home away from his family, triggering calls from opposition MDC and civic organisations for Mnangagwa to do the same.
Botswana issued a statement on Sunday saying Masisi had gone into self-isolation following his visit to Namibia, where three cases of coronavirus have been reported.
“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 Botswana’s President Masisi in self-isolation after Namibia trip, the President’s trip to Namibia, the low testing rates in the region makes that determination difficult …” a statement from the Botswana government read in part.
A director in charge of coronavirus within Botswana’s Health and Wellness ministry has extended the same impositions to rest of the staff that travelled with Masisi to Namibia.
But responding to questions on whether Mnangagwa would also go into self-isolation following interactions with many people, some from affected countries, Moyo said it was entirely up to the President.
“On President Masisi having gone into self-quarantine, one is not really forced to go into quarantine. It is up to an individual,” he said.
But Mnangagwa, in measures aimed at curbing the further spread of the deadly virus, closed the borders except for cargo and ordered that all citizens coming from outside the country should self-isolate.
He also gazetted Statutory Instrument 77 of 2020, which makes it criminal to refuse to be screened, or participate in gatherings of people
Meanwhile, Moyo said as long as Zimbabweans continue to gather, everyone was at risk of contracting the deadly virus.
“Why we emphasise that there should be no huge gatherings, if one of us here is at risk and has a virus, it will spread rapidly. Let us assume that if one of us here has a virus, it will jump on to the next one and so on,” he said.
Moyo added that people should exercise extreme caution and avoid the spread of the disease by observing social distancing.