Namibia: Covid-19 State Of Emergency Declaration by President Geingob and Cabinet Resolutions

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Windhoek — Statement by His Excellency The President Dr. Hage G. Geingob Upon Declaration Of State Of Emergency: Covid-19

Cabinet, at its meeting held this morning at the State House, received briefings on the status of COVID-19 in Namibia and deliberated the state of readiness to respond effectively to this public health emergency.

The Minister of Health updated on the measures taken to detect, test, isolate and trace cases, to contain the further spread of COVID-19. The Ministers of International Relations & Cooperation; Finance; Environment & Tourism and, Industrialisation & Trade also provided updates on the anticipated humanitarian and economic impacts of COVID-19 on Namibia and proposed mitigating strategies.

As emphasized in my statement of March 14, 2020, the Health of Namibians is the first priority. COVID-19 is public health emergency, considering the threat posed to the lives of the Namibian People. By virtue of the Power vested in me by Article 26(1) of the Constitution, I declare a State Of Emergency, with immediate
effect.

I will now proceed to sign the Proclamation.

I now call upon the Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of International Relations to make a brief intervention. She will be followed by the Ministers of Health; Finance; Industrialization, Trade & SME Development, and Environment & Tourism, respectively.

In closing, While the pandemic that we are faced with today is unprecedented, we are confident that working collaboratively, we will respond effectively to minimize the spread of the virus and loss of life, and to restore the health of those affected. I call upon the Ministry of Health & Social Services and stakeholders to provide a comprehensive Public Education Campaign to empower our People with the necessary preventative measures.
I appeal to all International Cooperating Partners and stakeholders and to our Private Sector to support Government's response measures and mobilize resources to combat the further spread of this virus.

Thank You

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4th (2020) Decision Making Cabinet Resolutions on Additional Measures to Strengthen Namibia's Preparedness And Response To Covid-19 Outbreak

That Cabinet approve the following additional measures to be instituted by the Government to curtail the spread of the COVID-19:

Points of Entry

1.    Suspension of the issuance of visa on arrival at the Hosea Kutako International Airport and implementation travel ban of foreign nationals (by air and sea) from affected countries, namely Schengen States, China, Iran, Korea, United Kingdom, United States of America and Japan. The travel ban to be reviewed regularly.

2.    A temporary travel suspension for 30 days for Namibians or Permanent Residents functionaries except for special cases with prior authorization with Ministry of Health and Social Services and Home Affairs and Immigration. Exceptional cases will include, persons seeking medical treatment, essential services like humanitarian assistance, truck drivers bringing food and other essential commodities, Namibians returning among others. Compulsory screening will be conducted for verification and quarantine imposed were necessary;

3.    All leisure, business and social travel like tourists is suspended, and Namibians who are residents in other countries considering to visit Namibia to postpone such visits;

4.    In order to facilitate work, international meetings, should either be attended by officials from our missions abroad or participation through video/teleconferencing.

5.    Direct that all international scheduled flights, private chartered flights to only land at Hosea Kutako International and Walvis Bay International Airports;

6.    All scheduled passenger flights, including private chartered flights to and from countries where there is active local transmission be temporarily suspended for 30 days with immediate effect. This suspension is exclusive of cargo and emergency flights to and from Namibia;

7.    Conduct strict disinfection of aircrafts and training of airport staff on infection prevention and control and provision of appropriate PPE;

8.    Mandatory screening for COVID-19 to be conducted at all Points of Entry in the country. Thermo guns to be placed at all checkpoints and roadblocks for screening inland travelers;

9.    All returning Namibians and permanent residents arriving from countries at high risk or from affected other countries will be subject to supervised self- quarantine from 14 days (self-quarantine for mild/asymptomatic persons); and

10.    South African Borders, including Air Travel to remain open to serve as points of entry for Namibians returning home and exit point for visitors from Namibia, and to facilitate trade between the two countries.

Uniformed forces

11.    Deployment of multi-disciplinary professionals like Health Professionals, logisticians and other professionals from the Uniformed Services (MoD, NAMPOL and Correctional Services) to complement their counterparts at the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the National Health Emergency Management Committee and funds to be availed for training, equipment, and materials:
11.1.    Correctional officers, court officials, police and City Police to be issued necessary infection prevention materials when conducting their duties;
11.2.    All court hearings to be conducted without attendance by members of the public;
11.3.    All pending matters in court to be postponed in absentia for 30 days;
11.4.    Provide separate detection facilities for new incoming accused person or suspects, and that routine screening should be conducted before admission;
11.5.    Implement decongestion procedures at police cells;
11.6.    For a period of thirty (30) days following the adoption of this measure, visits to correctional facilities and police holding cells be restricted to limited numbers of family members as determined by the relevant authorities;

Health facilities

12.    Mandatory immediate reporting of all suspected cases from both State and Private Health Facilities, using set case definitions as well as taking specimens and packaging according to the set standard operating procedures (SOPs):
12.1.    Introduction of triage system and mandatory screening at all Health Facilities in the country and that the Ministry of Health and Social Services coordinates the provision of Personal Protective Clothing/Equipment to all Ports of Entry officials;
12.2.    Include private facilities (UNAM & NUST), and other allied health services) sectors in the response depending on need;
12.3.    All health care workers to comply with the notification, prevention and control of notifiable diseases.
General Public

13.    For a period of thirty (30) days following the adoption of this measure, large public gatherings (of not more than 50 people) be suspended; schools, religious gatherings, customary, weddings, funerals, and all parades for uniformed forces to be suspended until further notice;

14.    For non-COVID-19 related funerals, families (organizers) are strongly advised:
14.1.    To promote hand washing, respiratory hygiene and social distancing at the event;
14.2.    Advice mourners to wear masks when coming to all activities related to the funeral;
14.3.    Deaths and funerals related to COVID-19 will be handled by the government with psychosocial support to the family;
14.4.    For a period of thirty (30) days following the adoption of this measure, owners of public transport vehicles to provide hand sanitizers and masks to all their clients/passengers and enforcement the laws on overloading strictly;
14.5.    For a period of thirty (30) days following the adoption of this measure, precautionary measures to be put in place during livestock auctions so as to prevent transmission of the virus in lien with the directive on minimizing mass gatherings as determined by relevant authorities and stakeholders;
14.6.    For a period of thirty (30) days following the adoption of this measure, trade fairs, sports, events, and demonstrations to be postponed;
14.7.    Accommodation establishments throughout the country to:
•    Provide sanitizers and masks for all staff
•    Educate guests to have own protective measures
•    Have full travel history of the guests and next destination Contact health authorities immediately when they notice guest being ill, especially with symptoms related COVID-19
•    Adopt and implement WHO Guidelines on Workplace
•    Prevention of COVID-019, including training of staff members of accommodation establishments on appropriate Infection Prevention and Control measures.

15.    Water supply to communities is key in the prevention of COVIT-19, and Service Providers are urged to make sure that water is available to the public, through water tanker services and other means;
15.1.    Scale up the provision of water supply at informal settlement and other strategic places through water tankers;
15.2.    Public awareness messages and campaigns should be intensified using all media avenues and platforms to reach every community member in all regions; and
15.3.    Shops, shopping mall and supermarkets to put measures in place to ensure and enhance hygiene at all time to protect all clients and customers, such as the provision of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and face masks for employees.

Economic Related Resolutions:

16.    Offices/Ministries and Agencies should request their respective State-Owned Enterprises to explore the possible impact of the Coronavirus on their businesses;

17.    Namibia to engage South Africa, as a matter of urgency on the reciprocity of visa arrangement for business people, and on the Exit and Entry Points that should not be closed to allow for the flow of trade and further mitigate shortage of suppliers (consumable goods) to Namibia;

18.    The cattle auctions should be allowed to continue provided that the number of people is limited to the Traders and no children should be allowed at the auctions;

19.    The Ministry of Finance and Bank of Namibia to conduct a thorough impact assessment of the COVID-19 on the economy, as well as, on the financial stability and the outcome should be presented at the next meeting of Ministerial Committee of the Economic Sectors; and

20.    The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development should implore upon the cosmetic industry to invest on manufacturing of sanitizers and other protective products to assess the impact of COVID- 19.

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