Windhoek — Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,
COVID-19 remains a serious global health pandemic. Namibia registered her first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 on 13th March 2020. It is why on 17th March 2020, Government declared a State of Emergency, which was extended by Parliament for a period of six months.
To date, the number of confirmed cases stands at sixteen (16). Of these, three people have made full recovery and there has been no report of new infections for over a week now.
We responded with urgent and aggressive measures to contain the spread of the novel Corona Virus into our communities. The measures we have put in place are starting to bear fruits.
As stated in my first statement on COVID- 19, the Health of Namibians remains the first priority. COVID-19 is not only a threat to the lives of the Namibian People and the public health system, but it also bears secondary negative economic impacts on businesses, including jobs and livelihoods.
Our key priority has been and shall remain the curbing the spread of the disease.
The second priority is to minimize impacts of COVID-19 on our economy. To this end Government rolled out the economic stimulus to the tune of N$ 8.1 billion on 7th April 2020. Payment to qualifying beneficiaries has started to be effected today and so far over 350 thousand applications have been received.
Today Cabinet met and reviewed progress on the extraordinary measures, we have adopted with the dual purpose of protecting the health, security and safety of the people and the economy.
The current lockdown for Erongo Region and Khomas Region, including the local authorities of Windhoek and Rehoboth lapse on Friday, 17 April 2020 at midnight. The lockdown is necessary to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
It is in view of this that Government has decided to introduce further measures as follows:
1. The lockdown will be extended from midnight on Friday 17th April 2020 to midnight on 4th May 2020. Effectively, the country will reopen on 5th May 2020. During this period, movements within the whole country will be restricted. The Regions will be grouped into zones. The exact modalities will be worked out by law enforcement agencies.
2. The current prohibition relating to certain operations and closure of certain business activities have been revisited to allow for the opening of informal trading and open markets, subject to strict hygiene, social distancing and limit of gathering. The ministry of Urban and Rural Development is tasked to implement the modalities and enforce full compliance.
3. With regard to reopening of schools, teachers and lectures will operate from home during the period of 20th April 2020, and will officially return to places of work on Wednesday, 6th May 2020. Learners and students will not return to school until further notice.
4. The work from home for government and private sector employees which was in place for 14 days ending 17th April 2020 will be extended to Tuesday, 5th May 2020.
5. The fishing sector operates in the food supply chain. As such, they are considered to render essential services subject to the health standards agreed. The operation of this industry will be allowed to continue.
As I have done over the past difficult weeks, I call on all Namibians to remain calm, to cooperate with the authorities in order to ensure that public order is not compromised.
Allow the authorities to work unhindered and do not provoke them unduly. I also urge law enforcement to demonstrate professionalism by operating within the law. Generally, I am encouraged by what I have observed so far.
I appeal to all Namibians to respect the Regulations and measures in place to curb the spread of the virus.
The pandemic we face today is unprecedented, but I am confident that by working collaboratively, we will respond effectively to minimize the spread of the virus and restore the health of those affected and restart our economic activities.
Let us hold hands and defeat this virus together as Namibians.