Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Botswana place Gaborone under lockdown until Aug. 13 to contain the spread of COVID-19.

  • Alert Begins: 31 Jul 2020 11:06 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 13 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Botswana have placed the capital, Gaborone, under total lockdown through at least Aug. 13 due to increasing cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). New restrictions in place for the duration of the lockdown period include the following:

 

  • Only essential service providers are permitted to operate at a 25 percent capacity.

 

  • No one will be permitted to move through Gaborone and the greater Gaborone zone without a permit for the duration of the lockdown.

 

  • Residents will only be permitted to leave their residential address for essential goods and services 0800-2000.

 

  • Public transport will only be available to those who are considered an essential servicer provider.

 

  • Gatherings of more than two people are prohibitted and no more than 50 people can attend funerals.

 

  • All schools and universities will be closed until further notice.

 


Other restrictions and measures which remain in place throughout the greater Botswana remain in place as of June 25, and include the following:

 

  • Precautionary travel measures, such as safe social distancing between passengers, are in place for domestic flights, which resumed June 12. Health screenings before boarding flights are mandatory. International flights will remain suspended.

 

  • 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.

 

  • Wearing protective masks is mandatory in public spaces nationwide.

 


An increased security presence is likely in Gaborone. Those who do not comply with the regulations outlined during the lockdown will be subject to fines or a maximum sentence of six months in prison, or both. The government is likely to implement or change restrictions with little to no warning.

Background and Analysis
Botswana's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally 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 possible ground shipping and travel delays.

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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