Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Botswana lift COVID-19 lockdown measures May 20. Low-level business and travel disruptions likely.

This alert affects Botswana

This alert began 21 May 2020 08:43 GMT and is scheduled to expire 09 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: May 20
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Authorities in Botswana lifted lockdown measures in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic May 20. The decision marks the end of a three-phased COVID-19 prevention and containment strategy. Phase one represented the first extension of the COVID-19 restrictions and measures, phase two included the easing of some of these restrictions, and phase three marks the gradual reopening of the economy. All businesses and schools are permitted to reopen, provided social distancing, and sanitization is adhered to. The public can move freely without permits within the nine previously demarcated zones; however, permits will still be required for inter-zone travel. Restrictions that remain in place include the following:

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

Further information on measurements and 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 21, there have been 25 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 17 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.

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.

Back to the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center