Windhoek — Your Excellency Dr. Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, Your Excellency, the Vice president, Right Honourable Prime Minister, Honourable Ministers, Ladies and gentlemen,
The presence of the COVID-19 is being felt in all parts of our country. Covid-19 is not only causing illnesses. It is claiming the precious lives of our citizens. As stated by His Excellency, the number of COVID-19 cases in our country has increased exponentially in recent weeks, with cases reported from all corners of Namibia.
It is a fact that the virus does not move or spread by itself. It is moved and spread by people. It spreads when, in the absence of complying with the precautions, an infected person moves from one place to another and gets into contact with other persons and infects them. These infected persons, failing to observe precautions, then go on and infect others. And the chain grows longer and longer.
In order to arrest the spread being observed in recent weeks, the current COVID-19 State of Emergency Regulations will be adjusted as announced by the Head of State. I now proceed to outline the details of the newly approved measures as part of our national strategy to combat COVID-19 in our country. The measures approved by Cabinet are as follows:
- All 14 regions of the country will revert to, or remain on STAGE 3 Level of Restriction under the COVID-19 State of Emergency for a period of 16 days from midnight, Wednesday 12 August 2020 until midnight 28 August 2020. This countrywide migration to STAGE 3 shall take into account all additional measures approved by Cabinet subsequent to the provisions in Proclamation No. 21 of 1 June 2020, which brought into being Stage 3 Regulations. The additional measures as later approved by Cabinet shall apply.
- The measures currently applicable to the Local Authority Areas of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis are now applicable to the City of Windhoek Local Authority Area, including Okahandja and Rehoboth Local Authority Areas for a period of sixteen(16) days.
- Travel into and out of these restricted Local Authority Areas to the rest of the country will be restricted to emergency situations only, as defined in the Regulations. Any person leaving the restricted areas, apart from critical and essential service providers, will be quarantined at own cost upon arrival at destination. Drivers of vehicles delivering critical and essential services travelling from the restricted areas will be quarantined as per the existing applicable modalities. Although travel will be permitted within the country, with the exception of the restricted Local Authority Areas, the public is cautioned against unnecessary travels.
- In order to decongest densely populated informal settlements, the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development shall identify facilities and venues where residents can be temporarily relocated. Local Authorities shall ensure availability of water and ablution facilities at these temporary relocation centres.
- Trading hours for the sale of alcohol are 12:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday and from 09:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays. No sale of alcohol permitted on Sundays and public holidays.
- No movement of persons will be permitted in the restricted areas between 20:00 to 05:00 daily, during the specified period, unless such person is in possession of an authorizing permit as an Essential Service Providers. To enforce this Regulation, checkpoints will be introduced at specified locations within the City of Windhoek and on the parameters of the restricted areas to control movements.
- Face-to-face classes for Grade 10, 11 and 12 scholars will continue. Where applicable, learners should stay in the hostels to limit exposure, provided there is no risk of infection at the school. Tertiary education Institutions, that is Vocational Education Training Providers, Colleges and Universities, to revert to online teaching and learning for the bulk of their students population groups, that allow adherence to the set health protocols. Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres, pre-primary and primary Grades Zero to Grade 9 remain closed and are to continue teaching via alternative modes of instruction.
- Across the country, public gatherings will be limited to 10 persons, including weddings, funerals and religious gatherings.
- The issuance of permits for travel from and to restricted areas to attend social events such as weddings and church events is strictly prohibited. However, permits will be issued for travel to attend funerals of immediate family members, that is spouse, parents, siblings and children. All persons travelling from high-risk areas, including the restricted areas will be required to submit to mandatory supervised quarantine for a period of seven (7) days upon arrival at their respective destinations.
- Restaurants in the restricted areas shall operate under STAGE 2 Regulations, that is on a takeaway basis only. Restaurants in other parts of the country may operate under STAGE 3 Regulations.
- It should be noted as per STAGE 3 Regulations that nightclubs, gambling houses and casinos are not permitted to operate.
- Employers should encourage employees and people who meet the criteria of Vulnerable Persons to work from home, as far as possible.
- Expanded Targeted Testing will be conducted in the City of Windhoek Local Authority and further to other selected Areas, depending on epidemiological trends.
- The Ministerial Coordinating Committee will convene as a matter of urgency to consider the implementation modalities for the recently approved Tourism Revival Initiative and operating modalities for restaurants, which recommendations will be tabled for Cabinet's consideration. All points of entry and cross border movement of persons remains closed, with the exception of the transportation of imported goods.
- We are now at a critical stage. The public must strictly adhere to the regulations and health and hygiene protocols which are our first-line defense. The law enforcement agencies must enforce these measures. Members of the public must:
- Wear a mask at all times in public spaces;
- Maintain social distancing;
- Avoid crowded public gatherings; and
- Avoid unnecessary travel to and from different parts of the country.
- The Ministry of Health and Social Services, and the Ministry of Education will intensify the dissemination of public service messages to educate the public about the dangers of COVID-19 and how our people can prevent its further spread. We are standing at a critical point. What we do now will determine the trajectory of this pandemic in our country. To prevent further spread of the virus demands utmost discipline in all our actions, whether at home, at work or in public spaces.