Namibia’s Covid-19 situation worsens

Namibia’s health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula on Wednesday warned Namibia’s Covid-19 situation has worsened in leaps and bounds. Where the country’s Covid-19 infection rate stood at 4,7 % in the period 22 October to 22 November, it skyrocketed to 24% on average in a matter of one week between 28 December 2020 and 3 January.

The warning is grim. Namibians need to redouble their efforts to cooperate with Covid-19 regulations. Failing of which hospital bed capacity, especially intensive care beds, would be over-whelmed and many people will lose their lives.
In what follows are revised Covid-19 measures as well as general information for public consumption, as announced by Dr Shangula on Wednesday. The revised rules will remain in force until midnight on 3 February.
The implementation of stricter public health measures is aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the community and stem the burden on our hospitals to ensure that the provision of essential health services is not disrupted. Our response measures must match the evolving epidemiological situation. After wider consultations and considering both epidemiological and economic indicators, the following measures are introduced. These measures shall take effect on 13.01.2020 at 23:59 and shall subsist for twenty-one (21) days until 03.02.2021 at 24:00.

Public Gatherings: Public gatherings (social, religious, sports, entertainment, cultural) and any other form of public gathering is maintained at the current maximum of fifty (50) persons for any such event at any given time. Registers must be maintained at all public gatherings. Attendees of public gathering must sanitise and maintain no less than 2 meters between them. Public gatherings shall not exceed two (2) hours and shall not continue beyond 20:00.
Restriction of movement (Curfew): A nation-wide restriction of movement is maintained from 21:00 to 04:00. A curfew remains an important tool in limiting human interactions, thereby limiting transmission.

Sale of Alcohol: Sale of alcohol and trading hours operations for on-site consumption (shebeens, bars, night clubs, gambling houses, casinos and restaurants) is retained as per current arrangements from 09:00-20:00 Mondays to Saturdays. No sale of alcohol is allowed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Compulsory correct wearing of face masks: Correct wearing of face masks continue to be a mandatory requirement in all public settings, including in vehicles, aircraft and other means of public transport with increased legal enforcement.
Salons, beauty parlors or fitness centers: Salons, beauty parlors, hairdressers, pools, spas, gyms, studios and fitness centers shall practice public health measures. Both the service providers and the clients must wear masks, sanitize and maintain the prescribed distance between them.

Restaurants, cafés and kapana traders: All in-doors and outdoor dining tables at restaurants must be positioned in such a manner that they are separated by not less than two (2) meters.

Passenger transport: Passengers in public transportation vehicles, including taxis and buses are allowed maximum carrying capacity. Public health measures (wearing of masks, sanitizing) shall be maintained throughout the voyage. Operators must plan the trip in such a way that public transport arrives at the destination before 21:00.

Medical services: All non-urgent medical procedures shall be postponed. Visitations to hospitalised patients is limited to not more than two (2) close relatives per visit. Visitation time is limited to not more than ten (10) minutes per visit. All health services shall continue within the prescriptions of these regulations.

Reopening of Schools for the 2021 School Year: Indefinite delays in re-opening of schools will have a detrimental effect on the learners. Pre-Primary to Grade 11 opens on 26 January 2021. Advanced Subsidiary Learners (pending results) begins on 16 February 2021.
Sports: All sports are allowed, but there shall be no spectators. The number of persons attending a sports event shall not exceed 50.

International travel: All non-Namibian travelers must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result that is not older than 7 days (168) hours at Port of Entry. They will not be required to be quarantined or to be subjected to another test including when exiting Namibia. The period of 168 hours is reckoned from the time the sample was taken. Namibian citizen may enter Namibia with or without any result. In the absence of any result, they will be subjected to a 7-days quarantine and testing at own cost.

Burial of Persons who succumb to COVID-19: The period within which the human remains of persons whose deaths are attributed to COVID-19 is seven (7) days. Such burials are conducted by government officials in conjunction with the families and in line with strict requirements for effective infection control and prevention to reduce the risk of transmission of infection. Normal rituals before, during and after the burial are not prohibited provided there is no risk of exposure to the attendees.

Protection for vulnerable persons: Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 60 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, expectant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for attending to essential requirements and for health purposes.

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