GABORONE, Botswana – Botswana will allow travellers who are fully vaccinated to enter the country without having to produce a negative Covid-19 PCR test starting Monday, the country’s health ministry said.
Health minister Edwin Dikoloti said all arrivals age 12 and older will be required to show proof that they had taken the Johnson & Johnson or both doses of a two-dose vaccine regimen when arriving at the country’s ports of entry.
Those who are not vaccinated will be required to present a negative PCR test taken within the last 72 hours. They will also be required to take a vaccine jab paid for by the government, Dikoloti said.
If one turns up without proof of vaccination, and without a negative Covid-19 test result, they will be required to take a PCR test at the port of entry “at their own cost, and where necessary quarantine at own cost while waiting for results.”
“If one has no proof of being fully vaccinated, is not willing to be vaccinated at the port of entry, has no 72-hour negative PCR test result and is not willing to be tested at own cost, they will not be allowed entry into Botswana if they are foreigners. If they are citizens, they will be liable to pay a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both,” said Dikoloti.
Botswana, a country of 2.4 million people, has nearly three million vaccine doses in stock, according to Dikoloti.
Pamela Smith-Lawrence, the director of health services said booster shots were currently not required for one to be considered fully vaccinated, but said this could change in the near future.
Truck drivers are among those who welcomed the decision to waive PCR testing requirements for the fully vaccinated.
“We do frequent PRC tests, and some of us travel in and out of Botswana every other day,” trucker Kealeboga Motsumi, who frequently travels to South Africa, said.
“We are fully vaccinated so it makes sense that the government says we should not do PCR tests. That is welcome.”
Botswana is one of Africa’s most vaccinated countries, with at least 73 percent of adults fully inoculated against Covid-19.