All people aged over 12 years old will be required to provide proof of full vaccination when they arrive in the country from February 14 onwards, Health and Wellness minister, Edwin Dikoloti has announced.
According to the revised Public Health Order issued this afternoon, proof of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival at the border will no longer be a requirement for fully vaccinated arrivals into the country.
The order reads:
A person who enters into Botswana shall —
(a) present proof that he or she is fully vaccinated: Provided that where such proof is not presented, the person shall — (i) present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, or any other test result as the Director may determine, not older than 72 hours from the time of testing, at the port of entry, and (ii) be vaccinated at the port of entry; or
(b) at their own cost, where he or she is unable to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result under paragraph (a) (i) — (i) be required to undertake immediate COVID-19 PCR testing, and (ii) isolate within the district of port of entry where the test result in subparagraph (i) is positive.
In a televised briefing earlier this afternoon, Dikoloti said health officials had been deployed to the borders to assist with vaccinating arrivals who opt to be vaccinated. The vaccines will be provided for free.
“We have changed the public health order and starting on February 14, if you come into Botswana from outside, you will have to provide that proof of full vaccination,” Dikoloti said. “Even though the vaccines are not a cure for COVID-19, they are helping to reduce the effects of this disease when people are infected.”
Last December, Mmegi reported that government was working on introducing the requirement for proof of vaccination at borders, a move first announced by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in a national address on December 1.
With the latest move, Botswana becomes one of very few African countries requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entry. On December 10, Malawi introduced a requirement that all arrivals show valid, full vaccination certificates. Those without are offered a free jab, before entering the country.
Health Services director, Pamela Smith-Lawrence said for now, “full vaccination” would be taken to mean two doses of the two-dose vaccines or one dose of the one-dose vaccines. However, in future, full vaccination would be changed to mean receiving all doses, including a booster shot.
Early last month, government announced that it had received all 4.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines it purchased from different producers last year. At least three million doses are in hand and helping to roll out vaccination to those aged 12 years and above, as well as to provide booster shot.