Photo: Henry van Rooi

by Ndanki Kahiurika

HEALTH minister Kalumbi Shangula yesterday revealed that as of 17 March  only two of the 24 suspected cases of coronavirus tested positive.

He said this during a weekly press briefing held in Windhoek yesterday.

The two cases that tested positive was the Romanian couple, and no new confirmed case has been reported so far.

“As of yesterday, a cumulative number of 24 suspected cases were reported in Namibia and all of them were tested. Four were tested by a private laboratory of which two tested negative and two tested positive. The latter was the Romanian couple. Twenty specimens were tested locally and all of them tested negative for Covid-19,” said Shangula.

He said the couple that tested positive had 25 contacts and an active contact was carried out and 19 contacts were traced. 

“Appropriate measures were taken, which include isolation and monitoring. So far, no secondary transmissions were observed,” said the minister. He once again addressed the inappropriate  use of gloves and masks, saying he has seen that these items are  in short supply because of panic buying. 

“A mask serves to protect others from you and not to protect you against them. Wearing gloves in public for no apparent reasons does not protect you from anything. It gives you a false sense of security. The most important thing is to understand how the virus is transmitted from an active to a susceptible person. Practise preventive measures,” said the minister.

In a bid to assist the country, Namibia received 1 000 Covid-19 testing kits, which are part of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s bigger donation to Africa. Shangula applauded China for managing to control the coronavirus in such a short period.

China’s ambassador to Namibia Zhang Yiming said the donation was a demonstration of China’s support to its all-weather friend Namibia in the fight against this coronavirus.

“Two months ago, the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, which is the epicentre of the coronavirus, caused great concern to the international community. […] We have successfully managed to contain it in the short period,” said Yiming. He said the number of infected cases in China has since drastically reduced, but the spreading outside of China has increased.

The ambassador said this is worrying, not just the international community, but also China, hence the willingness to assist where possible.

“We are all global villagers and, faced with this pandemic, we should hold hands to fight against this virus,” said the ambassador.

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