27 August 2014

Namibians Urged to Postpone Spiritual Trips to Nigeria

Photo: Unicef
Ebola reading material.

Windhoek — The Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Richard Kamwi has appealed to Namibians seeking prayers and spiritual healing from Nigerian preacher TB Joshua to hold over their plans until the deadly Ebola virus is brought under control in West Africa.

Kamwi's appeal comes after a 49-year-old woman who arrived at Hosea Kutako International Airport on 5 August after allegedly visiting TB Joshua in Nigeria, was cleared of Ebola after being kept under observation for 21 days at the Windhoek State Hospital.

Last week New Era reported about a group of 20 Namibians who arrived in the country from Nigeria

and were all taken in for medical check-ups as government tried to detect any Ebola cases.

It is understood that the group had travelled to Nigeria to seek spiritual healing from TB Joshua, Africa's most popular televangelist and supposed spiritual healer.

"No Namibians should take the risk of travelling to Ebola-affected countries for religious congregation," Kamwi urged yesterday.

"Visiting Ebola-hit countries will put us all at risk of getting the infection and spreading the disease to Namibia."

Chairperson of the National Health Emergency Management Committee, Dr Jack Vries, confirmed to New Era that a person travelling from Nigeria was kept in isolation for 21 days as a precaution against Ebola. She was released yesterday.

"She was released today. I am not telling you who she is, all I can tell you is that she is 49 and has been under observation at a government hospital for screening and observation for Ebola virus, " Vries said.

Vries said the woman received a clean bill of health after which she was allowed to leave hospital yesterday.

Any Namibian travelling from Ebola-hit countries such as Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will be subjected to similar medical check-ups.

Last week government announced that visitors from those countries would be prevented from entering Namibia until further notice.

Vries yesterday said no Ebola case has been reported in Namibia yet.

Last week thermal detectors were installed at Hosea Kutako International Airport, Walvis Bay Airport as well as the other main entry points to screen visitors arriving in the country.

Ebola is set to be one of the deadliest viruses known to man and has already claimed more than 1 350 lives in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia since it broke out in March. But most recently a new outbreak has also been confirmed in the DR Congo, which brings the virus much closer to Namibia's borders. The virus was initially identified in the DR Congo in 1976.

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