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31 Mar 2020 | 10:36 PM UTC

Botswana: First COVID-19-related death confirmed March 31 /update 2

Botswana confirms first COVID-19 death on March 31; further spread of disease likely over near term



According to international media sources, Vice President Slumber Tsogwane announced the country's first coronavirus (COVID-19) death on Tuesday, March 31. Tsogwane stated that the case involved a 79-year-old person who arrived in the country from South Africa on March 15, and died on March 25. They reportedly had underlying health issues.

President Mokgweetsi has declared a state of emergency for three weeks to try and avert the spread of the virus. Borders have been closed, except to returning citizens and residents, and all commercial flights suspended. Public gatherings have been banned and people have been advised to postpone non-essential travel.

As of March 31, authorities have confirmed four cases of COVID-19 nationwide. Further spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.