Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Botswana extend restrictive measures through May 7 to curb the spread of COVID-19. Severe disruptions likely.

This alert affects Botswana

This alert began 28 Apr 2020 15:20 GMT and is scheduled to expire 07 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Botswana have extended restrictive measures through at least May 7 to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). During the extension, the government will decide on a strategy to ease restrictions, depending on how citizens follow guidelines designed to reduce the spread of the disease.

Restrictive measures that will remain in place include:

  • Persons may move around to acquire essential goods only, such as food and medicine. Persons operating in essential sectors are allowed to move freely. All persons leaving their homes will require a Movement Permit.
  • Authorities have suspended passenger flights, and borders are closed. Transport of essential goods, humanitarian flights, foreign national repatriation flights, and the movement of residents into the country remain permissible.
  • Social distancing measures, including restrictions on public gatherings, are also in place.


The government may implement additional movement restrictions in the coming weeks. The emergency declaration may also be extended or reduced. Security forces are likely to deploy to monitor compliance of the social distancing orders. Clashes between police and persons not conforming with regulations remain possible.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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 queues and delays at available shopping centers. 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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