Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Botswana imposes nationwide lockdown through April 30 to stem the spread of COVID-19. Further preventive measures remain likely.

This alert affects Botswana

This alert began 02 Apr 2020 10:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Authorities in Botswana have declared a public health emergency and implemented a nationwide lockdown 2359 April 2-2359 April 30 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). During the lockdown, individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances, including to seek medical care and to buy food, fuel, medicine, or other essential supplies. Health workers, emergency personnel, and security service providers, and other essential services, will be exempt from the lockdown.

The lockdown updates existing travel restrictions implemented March 29, including the suspension of commercial international passenger flights, and the closures of the country's land borders to passenger traffic, except for returning nationals and residents. Persons returning will be placed in a 14-day quarantine.

Cargo transport of essential goods remains ongoing; however, significant disruptions to deliveries are likely, given enhanced health screening measures. Domestic ground and public rail transport are disrupted.

As of March 16, authorities have banned all public events and gatherings of more than 100 people for 30 days. Other social distancing measures are also in place. Further restrictions are likely in the coming weeks.

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.

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.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Botswana Government: www.gov.bw