Event: Town Hall on COVID-19 and Evacuation Flights
The Ambassador and other key U.S. Embassy Gaborone staff will host a Virtual Town Hall with U.S. citizens and their families on Friday, April 3 at 15:00 Central Africa Time. The gathering will be held on Google Hangouts at https://meet.google.com/xaq-pmcb-rvv. You will need a Google account to access the meeting. If you have trouble accessing the meeting once you have your account and have added the Hangouts application, use the last ten letters of the link posted above to enter the meeting. The meeting will be opened 15 minutes prior to 15:00. You will not be able to access the meeting prior to that.
We will discuss best practices for dealing with the government lock-down, COVID-19 safety and hygiene practices, and evacuation flight policy. This will be followed by a Question and Answer session. Please invite any U.S. citizens you know and send them the link to join the Town Hall.
If you have any questions for the Q&A Session, please send them in advance to ConsularGaborone@state.gov.
Because there are currently no commercial flights entering or departing Botswana or many of its neighbors, the U.S. Department of State is strongly considering sending a charter plane that will stop in several locations across Southern Africa, including Botswana, in the very near future. The exact dates, pricing, and other details will be shared as soon as they are available. U.S. citizens should seriously consider this option for returning to the United States, as there are no guarantees that another flight will be possible and those who remain may have to stay for several months. Please carefully weigh the anticipated conditions in Botswana and in the United States over the next 60-90 days when making this decision. Please also note that evacuation flights are not free-of-charge and are, in fact, frequently more expensive than regular commercial travel.
U.S. citizens who are interested in taking this opportunity to return home should contact the U.S. Embassy in Gaborone at the following link and fill out the form carefully, then submit:
Botswana Repatriation Request Form
The U.S. Embassy will use this form to send details about the flight to those who have registered.
For those outside Gaborone, the evacuation flight will stop in Gaborone only. Please contact ConsularGaborone@state.gov for assistance or the numbers listed below if you are outside of Gaborone and are seeking evacuation.
For those in northern Botswana, Zambia is no longer a good option for departure from the country. Zambian officials have started to enforce quarantine at the border with the onset
of COVID-19 cases in Botswana, so you may be detained for 14 days at the border before being allowed to proceed to Lusaka.
Botswana’s Ministry of Health has confirmed four cases of COVID-19 and one death. President Masisi declared a state of emergency nationwide beginning Friday, April 3 until further notice. He will also request approval from Parliament for 28 days of extreme social distancing, or “lock-down”:
- All individuals are expected to remain in their homes unless performing essential services or transporting essential goods.
- Those performing such services or transportation will be issued a COVID-19 Travel Permit by the Government of Botswana.
- All individuals are expected to continue to practice social distancing during this time.
- The Government of Botswana will announce details on fiscal and social measures enacted to reduce the impact of the lock-down on individuals and businesses.
Actions to Take:
- Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
- For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
- Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
- Check with your airlines regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
- Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Botswana.
- Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the U.S.
- Visit the Botswana Ministry of Health and Wellness’ Facebook page for latest travel restrictions.
- U.S. Embassy Gaborone, BotswanaEmbassy Drive
- State Department – Consular Affairs888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
- Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts.
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter