Namibia: Police Holding Cells Under Quarantine

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23 September 2020

Ongwediva — The police holding cells at Eenhana have been placed under quarantine after 19 inmates tested positive for the coronavirus, the regional commander, Commissioner Elizabeth Sibolile said yesterday.

According to Sibolile, the detention facility is now being managed by the ministry of health following the outbreak.

Sibolile said there will also be no admissions at the cells as no one is allowed there for the period of quarantine.

"Arrests will still be effected, but new admissions will be accommodated elsewhere," said Sibolile. The inmates who have tested positive have now been put in isolation.

According to Sibolile, 11 of the cases are isolated in the cells, eight are at the hospital.

Of these cases, 18 are male and one is female. Sibolile said there is assumptions that Covid-19 was contracted after some inmates were taken for medical treatment last week.

Last week, New Era also reported of an inmate that had contracted Covid-19 at the police holding cells in Oshakati.

The inmate was allegedly brought in from Rundu for a murder trial that is currently ongoing at the Oshakati High Court.

Since he arrived at Oshakati, he has been sharing a cell with 15 other inmates for at least 10 days before he was swabbed. He received his results seven days later, however, because of the seriousness of the charge he is facing, he was returned to the cells while arrangements are being made.

The inmates have since been isolated. Last month, a combined 10 police officers from the Eenhana Police station and the police headquarters at Eenhana also tested positive for Covid-19.

At the time, both places were fumigated and the police were able to return to work promptly. During the same month, a 49-year-old police officer also succumbed to Covid-19 at the town. The police officer was recorded as the first Covid-19 death in Ohangwena. Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula announced 81 new positive cases, 247 recoveries and three deaths linked to the pandemic. The country has now 10 607 cumulative confirmed cases, 8 359 recoveries and 2 132 active cases. The pandemic has claimed 116 lives in Namibia thus far.

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