Namibia: Swakopmund, Arandis Ready for COVID-19

THE RESIDENTS of Swakopmund and Arandis say they will do everything they can to adhere to the lockdown regulations and curb the spread of Covid-19.

The two municipalities say they are working to improve measures where Walvis Bay residents failed, especially by adhering to the rules.

Clive Lawrence, the representative of Swakopmund municipality on the regional coordination sub-committee dealing with Covid-19 prevention measures, said they have responded to requests to turn accommodation facilities into quarantine centres.

"We have made available municipal bungalows for that purpose at a reduced rate. The health ministry is also conducting extensive awareness campaigns, based on materials and directives issued by the World Health Organisation. Our municipal employees are continuously being briefed on the current state of affairs at Swakopmund and neighbouring Walvis Bay," he said.

The town's municipality is fully operational, but public access to offices is restricted to essential services only. Vulnerable staff are advised to stay home and those showing symptoms of possible infection are advised to seek medical attention before returning to work.

Lawrens said the public is advised to stay at home, practise social distancing and improved personal hygiene through hand washing and sanitising. Tippy taps will soon be installed around the town, as a joint project between the municipality and the United Nations Development Programme, to promote continuous hand sanitation.

He, however, noted that there is a need for the government to channel resources to areas under lockdown without delay, seeing that Kuisebmond at Walvis Bay is the epicentre of Covid-19 in Namibia.

"We are relying on the finalisation of the regional Epidemic Preparedness Plan designed by the sub-committee, and will follow the prescribed guidelines. In my opinion, we lack resources to effectively counter or control an outbreak in Swakopmund.

"The identified quarantine area has reached capacity because of the overflow from Walvis Bay. For every positive case identified, one can make provision for at least 20 contacts that need to be tested and quarantined," he said.

Meanwhile, Arandis mayor Risto Kapeda said the town is 98% ready to handle Covid-19 cases. Kapenda said he is proud that residents of the town were adhering to regulations.

"We have been focusing a lot on mobilisation because that is key. Arandis residents are never pushed a lot. We have good cooperation. Whenever you go in public spaces, people are practising social distancing. They are wearing masks and sanitising. I am proud of them. We have also cleaned up public places very well. We are ready," he said.

The Arandis local authority has made available rooms at the hospital and an empty house that can altogether accommodate about 50 people.

"It is not fair though, that we are adhering, and some people are finding ways to come to our town either passing through, or running away from Walvis Bay. We are a well-behaved community. Other towns' residents must remain in their homes until the situation is under control.

"I would also like to urge people of Arandis though, not to relax, just because we do not have a case," he said.

The governor of the Erongo region, Neville Andre, said he holds regular meetings with the mayors of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis to brief them on what is happening in the towns, and finding ways of preventing the further spread of the virus.

"I am putting emphasis on the fact that this situation can only improve if residents themselves adhere to the regulations. The government is doing everything in its power to solve the problem, but it will not work if everybody is not playing their part," he said.

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