Confusion reigns in travel industry

To minimize the risk of exposure to Covid-19, the government has asked Namibians to suspend all non-essential travel.  The airlines SA Express and SAA have suspended flights to Walvis Bay.  Air Namibia is however still conducting flights to South Africa.

The Manager: Corporate Communications for Air Namibia, Mr Paul Nakawa, told Namib Times that Only the flights to Frankfurt and Luanda have been suspended and that Air Namibia still flies to South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The flights to Frankfurt and Luanda will be reinstated once the threat of Covid-19 has passed.
“It is not our job to ask passengers when they make bookings what their reasons for travel-ling are. That is a matter of privacy.
“We however request all our passengers to heed government’s advice regarding personal safety and hygiene and to respect the safety of other passengers,” Nakawa said.
He added that there is however confusion as some immigration officers ask people their reasons for travelling. Reports have been received of travellers who are stopped at the border by customs officials and told that their travel plans were for leisure and therefore non-essential and that they could therefore not proceed.
When asked by a journalist about travel to South Africa, earlier this week, the minister of Home Affairs, Mr Frans Kapofi, clarified the broad directive of the so called travel ban, by explaining that anyone can go to and from South Africa, as long as there is a need for this travel.
“We can’t dictate to people, but we are discouraging movement. The lesser the activities the better,” he said.
Kapofi explained that government only en-courage travelling for medical conditions, death, emergency or serious business.
He added that people arriving from abroad can’t be turned away, but they will have to undergo screening and be quarantined.
Note: the Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe, yesterday refuted claims that Namibia’s two main borders with South Africa is closed for returning Namibians or South Africans returning to their homeland. Rumours were spread yesterday the borders of Ariamsvlei and Noordoewer would only be open till midnight (last night).
“This is clearly border officials who are con-fused. As long as the two countries keep the borders open for their returning citizens no-body can take that right away from them”, he said. Nangombe undertook to take the matter up with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration.

To read more: pick up your copy of the Namib Times at any retail outlet in Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. Available in Windhoek at selected stores, at Arandis (Shoprite and Arandis Service Station); Usakos; Henties Bay (Spar; Woermann Brock) and Windhoek (Windhoek: Shoprite Maerua Mall; Shoprite Katutura; Shoprite Ind. Av; Shoprite Lafrenz Industrial; Shoprite Okurayangava; Shoprite U-Save; Fountain OK Foods (Baines); Maerua Superspar).

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