Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Botswana impose entry and exit restrictions in the capital, Gabarone, May 11, as a result of COVID-19.

This alert affects Botswana

This alert began 12 May 2020 14:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 20 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Authorities in Botswana have imposed entry, and exit restrictions in the capital, Gabarone, May 11, until further notice; only individuals holding an essential services permit can travel into and out of Gaborone. Authorities declared Gabarone as a high-risk zone May 11 due to new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and have advised the public to limit their movements with immediate effect.

Authorities previously announced a phased easing of some measures as of May 8. This includes:

  • Businesses and schools will be permitted to operate, provided they have satisfied policies put in place by the Director of Health Services.
  • Authorities demarcated Botswana into nine zones; non-essential travel is not permitted across these zones for the duration of general restrictions. Travel permits are required until at least May 20.
  • Places of religious worship will be allowed to conduct services twice a week, with a maximum of 50 people allowed to attend each service.

National restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 remain in place through at least May 20. These include:

  • The mandatory wearing of face masks in public spaces.
  • The suspension of passenger flights and closure of borders. 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 other than funeral services, 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 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.

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.

Back to the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center