Botswana's Masisi, Germany's Merkel among more celebs hit by Covid-19

23 March 2020 - 15:03 By Khanyisile Ngcobo
German chancellor Angela Merkel has gone into quarantine after coming into contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19.
German chancellor Angela Merkel has gone into quarantine after coming into contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19.

As the world battles to contain the coronavirus pandemic, two more world leaders have gone into quarantine after coming into contact with people infected with the virus, while more celebrities have been diagnosed with the deadly virus which has now claimed more than 15,000 lives.

On Monday morning, Botswana confirmed that its president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, went into self-quarantine on Saturday after a visit to neighbouring Namibia, which has three coronavirus cases.

His office said Masisi would test for SARS-CoV-2 during his quarantine and would be "working from his official residence but quarantined away from his family".

The director of health services had extended the same impositions to the rest of the entourage that travelled with the president to Namibia," his office said in a statement.

German chancellor Angela Merkel was another world leader who decided on Sunday to quarantine herself at home after being treated by a doctor who has since tested positive.

Hollywood producer and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, in prison in northern New York state after being sentenced to 23 years in jail for rape and sexual assault, has also tested positive, US media reported on Sunday.

Here is a roundup of the political leaders, celebrities and sports figures affected by Covid-19:


In South Africa, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Kenneth Meshoe has been tested for the virus after taking part in a religious gathering in the Free State where five international guests tested positive for the virus. He is waiting for his results.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who came into contact with Meshoe, remains "in good health", the presidency said.

Prince Albert II of Monaco has tested positive, although there are "no concerns for his health", the palace said on March 19.

Michel Barnier, who leads EU negotiations with Britain on Brexit, announced in a Twitter video on March 19 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been in isolation since March 13 after his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau tested positive.

Members of governments in several countries — Australia, Brazil, Britain, Burkina Faso, France, Iran, Morocco, Norway, Poland and Spain — have been infected.


Congolese music legend Aurlus Mabele, known as the "King of Soukous", an uptempo modern variant of Congolese rumba, died in Paris on Thursday of the coronavirus, aged 67.

Spanish opera star Placido Domingo said Sunday he had tested positive, adding he was "in good health".

Cameroonian jazz star Manu Dibango, 86, was admitted to a French hospital suffering from the virus, his official Facebook page said on March 18, adding he was "resting well and calmly recovering".

Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress and singer Rita Wilson, said on Monday they were doing better after nearly two weeks quarantine in Australia.

British actor Idris Elba said on March 16 that he had tested positive for the virus and had gone into self-isolation. 

Chilean author Luis Sepulveda, who lives in northern Spain, also has the virus and is in hospital. He felt the first symptoms on February 25.


Former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz died on Saturday aged 76, three days after being hospitalised with the coronavirus.

In Italy, several players at Juventus are infected, including France's 2018 World Cup winner Blaise Matuidi and Argentinian attacker Paulo Dybala.

As a precautionary measure their teammate Cristiano Ronaldo has been in isolation for several days.

Former AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini and his footballer son Daniel announced they were positive Saturday.

At Fiorentina, another top Italian club, 10 players are infected.

In England, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi have both tested positive.

At least 14 players from the NBA have tested positive in the past 12 days, including Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant. Most of them have said they are without symptoms, according to NBA boss Adam Silver.

- Additional reporting by AFP