Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Gaborone, Botswana

Location:  Botswana

Event:  U.S. State Department Charter Plane to Southern Africa

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 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: