Namibia: Many African Leaders Take COVID-19 Test

30 March 2020

Taking a cue from his peers who have taken tests for Covid-19, President Hage Geingob said he is in the hands of the doctors and conducting tests when asked if he has taken a test for the virus.

Speaking at State House on Friday, Geingob responded to a question during a press briefing as to whether he has taken a test for coronavirus, for which many of his African contemporaries have taken the lead.

"I am in the hands of doctors always - I am tested. I will be tested anytime with our doctors. I am okay," said Geingob, adding that he is the only African leader who tested and publicly declared his health status, but he also cautioned the journalist not to compare him to other leaders.

Namibian has 11 confirmed cases of the virus, including three latest cases on Saturday evening of two females aged 33 and 35 years-old, as well as a 69-year-old male. Government has since announced a 21-day lockdown in Khomas and Erongo regions since midnight on Friday.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari tested negative for the virus, while his chief of staff Abba Kyari tested positive last week.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has also tested negative for the novel coronavirus after taking the test as a precautionary measure, the South African presidency reported last week. Daily Maverick reported that Ramaphosa underwent the test on Tuesday on the advice of a physician and received his results on Wednesday night, adding that the president had held meetings with a variety of people in recent weeks. South African has over 1 000 confirmed cases and two deaths.

In addition, leader of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) Kenneth Meshoes and chief whip Steve Swart tested positive for coronavirus. SA parliament indicated that some MPs may need to self-isolate and get tested after it emerged that the two tested positive.

New Era asked a few opposition party leaders if they tested for the virus. Landless People's Movement (LPM) Bernadus Swaartbooi said he did not test. Swaartbooi said he will test when it is appropriate. However, saying he is worried about how people in the informal settlement are collecting water in huge numbers after the lockdown, which only allows a gathering of 10 people. He suggested for water tanks to be availed, further expressing that there seems to be a veil of secrecy of how things are handled during the lockdown. He stated there is a lack of coordination and information, and members of the public are confused.

National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) president Esther Muinjangue has not yet taken a test, saying:

"I want to do that (testing) tomorrow (Monday) just to set an example," said Muinjangue.

Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) leader Epafras Mukwiilongo said he screened his temperature at parliament last week and it was normal. However, Mukwiilongo said he will test today.

New Era could not get hold of Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani and Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) president Mike Kavekotora for comment, as their cellphones went on voicemail. - sikela@nepc.com.na

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