Walvis Bay Corridor Group proves a strict quarantine regime can curb spread of the Coronavirus

A strict quarantine regime kept by the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, with progressive buy-in from the road freight sector, has assisted health officials to curb the spread of the Coronavirus at Walvis Bay to below 10 %. That is according to the esteemed South African transport publication, freightnews.co.za

Walvis Bay is the hub for import- and exports to Namibia’s neighboring states of Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The publication quotes Mr. Edward Shivute, a project manager for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG). Shivute explained the port’s Covid containment approach comprised several key elements.
Among other things it included roadside clinics along all four of the port’s feeder routes (the Trans-Kunene into Angola, the Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor (NLC) into the Copperbelt area on the border of Zambia and the DRC, the Trans-Kalahari through Botswana towards Gauteng, as well as the Trans-Oranje across this river into South Africa’s Northern Cape Province.
This was combined with a temporary quarantine facility at Walvis Bay that greatly assisted WBCG to keep transmission from truck drivers down to below 10%.
“Walvis Bay is where truck drivers from all these corridors converge. We realized, if we were going to focus on preventing the port from becoming an epicenter for the novel Corona-virus we needed a mixed strategy.”
According to Shivute that mixed strategy required the cooperation by multi-sectoral partners, health and social services, and assistance from transporters. The temporary quarantine facility was constructed with empty freight containers to create a “walled-in” facility opposite the Dunes Mall at Walvis Bay.
As a result of the combined confinement effort, truck drivers – both local and foreign – had an overnight area where they could stay safe.
“Previously such a facility was non-existent,” Shivute added.
Moreover, it was equipped with the necessary testing equipment to adequately serve drivers, additional amenities to make their stay as comfortable as possible, and it was watched over by the Namibian Police (Nampol).
“We even integrated the facility with HIV-related services because of the awareness of comorbidities to treat long-distance drivers for risks such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar diabetes.”
“Most companies came on board through quick response of transport operators. It helped us to keep the transmission rate below 10%, an astonishing achievement compared to how quickly community transmission skyrocketed.”

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