Namibia: COVID-19 Cases May Peak to 700

EXPERTS say Namibia may see the number of Covid-19 cases jumping to roughly 700 by August, which could be the country's peak.

Yesterday alone, the country recorded 52 new cases, with 51 recorded at Walvis Bay and one in a quarantine facility, minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula said.

Dr Jan Wnent, a consultant anaesthesiologist and clinical head of the acute care unit at the Ministry of Health and Social Services, took part in a discussion at the Covid-19 communication centre yesterday about the epidemiological progression of Covid-19 in Namibia.

He said the country's peak would likely take place in mid-August in the Erongo region.

The professor said after a steep incline in the number of cases the peak would level out over two to four weeks, after which a decrease in the number of new cases would be experienced.

"Now we would say we have community transmissions at Walvis Bay, which are roughly seen after the first cases there at the beginning of June. So it will be mid-August when we see the peak in that region," Wnent said.

Speaking at the same platform, Alladji Osseni, senior strategic information adviser of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (Unaids), said Namibia can expect to have roughly 700 Covid-19-positive cases within the next eight weeks.

"When an epidemic starts, we can expect to see a peak within five to eight weeks. In terms of projections, we must be ready to have around 15 to 20 cases announced daily, and it will decrease progressively to 10 and five cases," he said.

Osseni said projections by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and health partners show that Namibia would have had 185 000 Covid-19 infections by now if the country did not move swiftly and locked down.

"So the lockdown has really helped us to prevent this type of situation. ... it prevented 27 000 people from being infected in Namibia and has avoided 53 deaths related to Covid-19," the adviser said.

He said Windhoek alone as an economic hub would have had 3 500 Covid-19 positive cases if no lockdown was imposed.

Dr Catherine Muwonge, WHO epidemiologist and case management focal person said the Erongo region experienced various stages of transmission scenarios.

"Initially, it started with no cases, but went on to have a few sporadic, but imported cases. People came into the country, were tested and isolated. We moved on, but the ports in the region serve neighbouring countries, and our neighbours have a lot of cases with community transmissions. Transporters of essential goods entered Erongo, some through the harbour, with the disease being imported," she said.

Muwonge said as some of the transporters of essential goods entered Namibia, they interacted with locals, which led to a chain of community transmissions.

"In Erongo, we moved from sporadic to cluster cases, with some of the new cases not being linked to confirmed cases. So we have community transmissions, but limited. The cases with no links are at Walvis Bay," she said.

She said people migrate specifically to Walvis Bay being a place with high economic activity, which leads to the development of informal settlements with a high population density, which in turn becomes a high-risk transmission area.

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