Namibia: Covid Crisis Spirals... Strict Measures to Curb Further Spread

Lockdown (file photo).

Staff Reporter

The Covid-19 situation in the country yesterday reached alarming levels, with the authorities announcing a record of 32 deaths and 1 206 new infections.

With the country recording a cumulative 1 040 deaths due to the pandemic, President Hage Geingob last night announced a raft of new restrictions to help curb the spread of Covid-19. "This is indeed a sombre period in our country's history," Geingob, who recently recovered from Covid-19, said during a televised address.

"As it has been reported, Namibia has now passed the 1 000 mark of men, women and children who have lost their lives due to Covid-19. The loss of so many lives is difficult to bear. I take this opportunity to express sincere condolences, on my own behalf and on behalf of the government, to the bereaved families who have lost their loved ones." New restrictions announced last night include limiting exit and entry into the Windhoek-Okahandja-Rehobothlocal authority areas with immediate effect, closing schools for 14 days, as well as prohibiting on-site consumption of alcohol.

Public gatherings have also been capped to a maximum ten persons, while contact teaching for primary, secondary schools and higher education institutions, including technical education providers in affected areas, is suspended effective tomorrow to

30 June.

Hospitals, especially in Windhoek, which is currently the epicentre of the virus, are struggling to contain the wave of new infections and have run out of beds.

This has forced the Windhoek Central and Katutura Intermediate Hospital to suspend all non-emergency referrals and elective surgeries from other parts of the country.

"Over the past four weeks, the situation has, however, taken a turn for the worst. We have recorded an exponential increase in the number of new infections, hospitalisations and deaths recorded daily. In addition to the existing measures currently in force, we must take steps to stem these worrying trends," said Geingob.

A clearly agitated Geingob also lashed out at citizens, especially young people, who continue to disregard

public health regulations.

He said: "I am dismayed by recent revelations of Namibians who blatantly disregard regulations. The videos of our young people, seen partying and flouting the public health and safety protocols, are disappointing. Such wanton recklessness, selfishness

and irresponsibility at a time that our country is warding off the peak of the pandemic should not be allowed to continue. I wish to inform those organising and engaging in such activities that there will be consequences as provided for in our

laws and regulations".

Vaccine misinformation

The Head of State also implored Namibians to avail themselves and get vaccinated against Covid-19. Government and various private healthcare facilities are administering the Covid-19 jabs free across the country.

As at yesterday, only about 17 000 Namibians have received their second doses of Covid-19. According to the health ministry statistics, 91 797 people have received the first dose of the Chinese-manufactured Sinopharm vaccine, while 53 343 people received their first dose of the AstraZeneca shot.

"It is disappointing to note that a few of our citizens have taken to social media to propagate falsehoods and misleading information regarding the safety and effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines. Vaccination is an important weapon in our arsenal towards reaching herd immunity and defeating Covid-19. I, therefore, encourage all eligible Namibians to go out and receive their Covid-19 vaccine. The rumours going around must be debunked. It is for our own good and I implore you, as responsible and caring citizens, to take the vaccine," said Geingob.

"Let us not abandon our mindsets of caution and mindfulness. Now is not the time to let our guards down. Rather, now is the time to pull together and reaffirm our resolve to win the war against Covid-19. Let every Namibian, young and old, become a fighter on the frontlines of this war. Let us become paragons of discipline and resilience. Let us hold hands and form a united front so that once and for all, we can overcome Covid-19 as One Namibia, One Nation."

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