Wednesday, October 4, 2023

US lists Botswana among high risk locations

The United States has declared Botswana along with more than a hundred other countries as a COVID – 19 high-risk location.Travel to Botswana by US citizens has also been restricted because of the spike in crime and unsafe drinking water – three independent reports claim.The first report by the United States of America’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that travellers from the US should avoid all nonessential international travel to Botswana.This COVID-19 risk level is not specific to Botswana but seems to be a standard recommendation to US citizens wishing to travel anywhere in the world.

Travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to Botswana because “COVID-19 risk in Botswana is high.”“If you get sick in Botswana and need medical care, resources may be limited. If you get sick with COVID-19 (or test positive for COVID-19, even if you have no symptoms) while abroad, you may be isolated or not be permitted to return to the United States until you have recovered fully from your illness,” the report says.It further states: “If you get exposed to a person with COVID-19 while abroad, you may be quarantined or not be permitted to return to the United States until 14 days after your last exposure.The report further states that no flights into Botswana are operating, and if you manage to enter, you should expect a minimum 14-day quarantine upon entry in a government approved facility at your own expense. 

“You should also expect to remain here until commercial flights resume, which may be several months or more, and to be required to shelter in place at any time due to regular and unexpected lock-downs and other restrictions,” the report says. This report is replicated on more than a hundred other countries that have recorded COVID-19 cases.  According to the report, fuel and other goods shortages are also to be expected. Agricultural and other food import restrictions are in place.The second report by the US embassy in Gaborone states that Botswana has confirmed over 2,400 cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths within its borders. “Community transmission of the disease is confirmed. While Botswana has a level 3 travel advisory, the U.S embassy in Gaborone strongly urges U.S citizens not to enter Botswana at this time,” the report says. The third report by the Department of States says” “The U.S. Department of State has assessed Gaborone as being a HIGH-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.”

According to the report, criminal incidents, particularly crimes of opportunity (e.g. purse snatchings, smash-and-grabs from parked cars and in traffic, residential burglaries), can occur regardless of location. Theft of mobile phones, laptop computers, and other mobile devices are common, the report says.The U.S. Department of State has assessed Gaborone as being a LOW-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. Indigenous terrorism is not a known issue in the country. However, the report says, terrorist threats know no boundaries. The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. Avoid drinking tap water and ice made from tap water. Many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless patrons specifically request bottled water. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe to drink.

 CDC uses Travel Health Notices (THNs) to tell travellers and other audiences about health threats around the world. On March 27, 2020, CDC posted a Level 3 Global COVID-19 Pandemic Notice. That notice advised travellers from the United States to avoid all nonessential travel to foreign countries and US Territories around the world. On August 6, 2020, CDC replaced the global travel notice with destination-specific COVID-19 THNs.CDC also uses an interactive world map (COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination) to share COVID-19 travel recommendations. On this map, foreign countries and US Territories are shown as Level 3 (high risk), Level 2 (moderate risk), Level 1 (low risk), or no THN (very low risk). The map also identifies destinations where we cannot make a risk determination (no data available). CDC bases COVID-19 risk levels for foreign countries and US Territories on two sets of data (primary and secondary criteria).

·         Virus transmission rates at the destination (primary criteria)

·         Healthcare capacity and public health infrastructure at the destination (secondary criteria)


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