Truck drivers heading into Botswana face stringent coronavirus-curbing measures, practically limiting the time they have to enter the country from three days to one.
According to a government statement seen by Freight News, “the Presidential Task Team on Covid-19 has directed that, with immediate effect, all truck drivers entering Botswana will now be required to produce evidence of negative Covid-19 results that are not more than 72 hours old”.
The directive, issued by the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, adds that drivers “are requested to ensure that without fail all truck drivers entering Botswana must present to immigration officers proof of negative Covid-19 results before they enter Botswana”.
Since the announcement a member of Transist, the transit assistance bureau of the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations (Fesarta), has pointed out the impracticality of the new corona verification regulation.
A transporter told Freight News it took 24 to 48 hours to receive test results.
“If your test results come in after 48 hours you then have one day to transit into Botswana.
“So if you’re stuck in a queue with all the drivers waiting for their results, your valid test will no longer be considered in Botswana and you would need to be tested again.”
Fesarta chief executive Mike Fitzmaurice has since said “the logical thing to do would be to grant an extension”.
Unfortunately Botswana’s authorities “don’t seem to be flexible enough”.
Fitzmaurice added that one solution would be to test drivers before departure.
“I think it’s in Kenya where drivers are tested and given a permit that’s valid for 14 days. It would enable drivers to transit through several countries before they have to be tested again.”