Botswana health authorities say, starting Monday, fully vaccinated travelers entering the country will no longer need a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. Unvaccinated visitors can also get inoculated free at Botswana's entry points. From Gaborone.
In a televised address on Friday, Minister of Health Edwin Dikoloti said all people age 12 and older will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 at entry points.
Travelers without a vaccination certificate will still be required to undergo a PCR test.
He says, starting Monday, those entering the country will be required to produce proof of full vaccination. Those who are not fully vaccinated will have to take PCR tests at entry points at their own cost.
Botswana has nearly 3 million vaccine doses in stock and Dikoloti says the country will offer free shots to visitors at entry points.
What will happen is that there will be health officers at entry points to vaccinate those willing to receive the shot. This will enable visitors or returning citizens to be allowed into Botswana, Dikoloti says.
Director of Health Services Pamela Smith-Lawrence says, right now, booster shots are not required to be considered fully vaccinated but that will change in the near future.
“For now, when we say fully vaccinated, we mean those who have received two doses, or a single dose for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine," Smith-Lawrence said. "But in the future, as more take the booster dose, we will specify that full vaccination includes the additional dose."
Truck drivers are among those who welcome the decision to waive COVID-19 PCR testing requirements for the fully vaccinated.
Truck driver Kealeboga Motsumi, who frequently travels to South Africa, is happy with the decision.
"We do frequent PRC tests, and some of us travel in and out of Botswana every other day," Motsumi said. "We are fully vaccinated so it makes sense that the government says we should not do PCR test. That is welcome."
With a population of 2.4 million, Botswana is one of Africa’s most highly vaccinated countries, with at least 73 percent of adults fully inoculated against COVID-19.