Namibia Plans COVID-19 Exit Strategy

President Geingob has extended Namibia's lockdown until at least May 4.

The government has established committees to work out exit plans for the COVID-19 lockdown.

Deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said various sectors had set up committees to strategise on how the country can recover from this virus when the lockdown ends this Saturday.

Nandi-Ndaitwah, who was speaking at the Covid-19 information centre yesterday in Windhoek, did not disclose the strategies.

"We have an economic and social sector exit strategy because the whole country has closed down. The economy is no longer functioning as it should be. Society is no longer living the way it used to live. As a government, we have committees drawing up strategies on how to start the economy and have it functioning again," the minister said.

The education committee is looking at what would happen with education after the lockdown, she said.

"We also have a welfare sector. Currently we are taking care of people from different sectors of our society. The media has been helpful in communicating to the nation what is happening. In Windhoek, we are hosting the homeless at different places.

"After the lockdown, are we going to allow them to live under bridges? So, we are working on strategies on how to deal with these situations," she said.

Health minister Kalumbi Shangula told the same platform the challenge after the lockdown would be maintaining the same level of healthcare in the country, as financial resources may not be enough to do so.

"We have maintained a certain level of healthcare, and we need financial resources to maintain that. During the lockdown, the economy has been suppressed and this may trickle down to the health sector, and levels may drop. The challenge we may face will be related to financial resources, but at the moment, I do not see that it would have a major impact on the sector," he said.

TESTING CAPABILITIES

Namibia has 16 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with three recoveries and one person in critical condition. Shangula said Namibia's testing capacity is sufficient at 96 a day.

"So far the operational capacity has been 30%, meaning there is an excess capacity of 70%. This is because the number of the specimens sent does not reach capacity for a single run. We have enough capacity to test and the Namibia Institute of Pathology intends expanding that capacity and decentralise the tests to other regions," he said.

VENTILATORS

Shangula added that Namibia had 39 ventilators at its public health facilities before Covid-19 and purchased an additional 10 that have not been used yet and will be installed at the newly constructed facilities. The minister further said they bought another 10 ventilators that will be delivered soon.

"We have also ordered another 83. I just want to explain that a ventilator is a machine that if the lungs of an individual are compromised and the person is not able to breathe on his or her own, that machine will assist and breathe for the person.

"We do not use the machines daily.

"We had 39 and are supplementing those in case the number of patients who need them increases.

"Our aim is to ensure our patients do not reach that stage. Our critical patient did not need a ventilator," he said.

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