Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Air Botswana to resume domestic flights from June 12. Other COVID-19 restrictions remain through May 31.

This alert affects Botswana

This alert began 27 May 2020 15:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jun 2020 11:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 31
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Botswana announced that Air Botswana (BP) will resume domestic flights June 12. Precautionary travel measures, such as safe social distancing between passengers, will be in place. Health screenings before boarding flights are mandatory. International flights will remain suspended.

The announcement coincides with several ongoing restrictions that remain in place through at least May 31, include the following:

  • Wearing protective masks is mandatory in public spaces nationwide.
  • Authorities continue to permit the transport of essential goods, humanitarian flights, foreign national repatriation flights, and the movement of residents into the country, however; borders remain closed.
  • Nationwide social distancing measures are in place, including restrictions on large public gatherings other than funeral services.


The government has moved to ease some restrictions. Earlier in May, all businesses and schools were permitted to reopen. The public can also move freely without permits within the nine previously demarcated zones; however, permits will still be required for inter-zone travel.

Authorities in Botswana declared a six-month state of emergency as of April 9. The declaration provides the government with powers to enforce regulations.

Further information on restrictions will be issued in the coming days. Security forces are likely to deploy to monitor compliance of the social distancing orders.

Background and Analysis
As of May 27, there have been 35 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 20 recoveries, and one related death. The measures adopted by the government have evolved in recent weeks as Botswana assesses the full impact of the disease in the country. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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