Transporters entering Botswana via Pioneer Border Post on the N4 Platinum Highway from South Africa have been advised that health authorities in Gaborone have reinstated the polymerase chain reaction test, better known as PCR.
A message forwarded by a clearing agent to the Transit Assistance Bureau (Transist) yesterday said: “Starting from Friday, April 30, all foreign drivers will not be allowed entry into Botswana without valid PCR results.”
Drivers registered in Botswana will be tested at the border at a cost of 500 pula (R658).
The message added that the PCR test would still run parallel with the rapid test for Botswana drivers, and for foreign drivers with valid PCR test results.
“They will still have to undergo the rapid test.”
It’s known as the “gold standard” for Covid-19 testing accuracy and health authorities in Botswana reportedly reintroduced PCR testing because of “the high numbers in our statistics”, the Transist message said.
The relevant official added that testing measures at the border had been tightened because drivers had diverted their journeys to Pioneer because of not having to furnish PCR results.
The news has had an immediate effect in cross-border transport circles, with hauliers saying PCR costs and regular transits in and out of landlocked Botswana are going to hit them hard.
News of the PCR decision comes days after a Namibian delegation visited the Trans-Kalahari Corridor (TKC) crossing to revisit trade efficiencies, or the lack thereof, on the TKC connecting logistical hubs out west with Gauteng through Botswana.