by Okeri Ngutjinazo
DEPUTY prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah says Africa is working as a team to find a cure for Covid-19 and to not rely only on Europe and other continents.
She made these remarks at the
Covid-19 communication centre in Windhoek yesterday, while discussing
African governments’ response to the disease caused by the novel
coronavirus that has swept across the planet since first being detected
in China near the end of 2019. Panellists at the information centre also
included health minister Kalumbi Shangula and South African high
commissioner Archie Whitehead.
The continent yesterday celebrated Africa Day under the theme ‘Health Security in the Context of Covid-19.
Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963. It is celebrated in various African countries, as well as around the world.
Madagascar has urged its citizens to protect themselves from the coronavirus by drinking Covid Organics, an organic herbal beverage which president Andry Rajoelina claimed could prevent or cure the virus – although its efficacy has so far not been scientifically proven.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Addis Adaba, Ethiopia, is working with Madagascan scientists to understand the properties of the herbal beverage.
“Africa is not waiting for Europe or any other continent but we are working as a team. While some countries may not have taken it [the herbal drink], they are just being cautious because anything introduced, you have to be cautious with it. Africa is not saying no to the Covid Organics but working on it,” she said.
While responding to questions on the repatriation of Namibians from Europe, the deputy prime minister said a charter flight arranged by Air Namibia during this week had not been cancelled but has been shifted to next week, allowing time for other Namibians to find their way to Frankfurt or London, where they would be able to get the flight to return home.
A charter flight by Air Namibia to repatriate Namibians in Europe was set to depart tomorrow, but has been postponed due to technical challenges.
“One of the issues is to make sure that all people who are able to pay their own tickets and are ready to come home are given an opportunity. You cannot allow the plane to depart if the number is not what you want,” she said.
Whitehead said if South Africa had not acted after its first coronavirus infection was confirmed, the country would not have been able to deal with the virus.
With more than 22 000 confirmed coronavirus infections and 429 deaths as a result of Covid-19, South Africa plans to ease its lockdown from phase four to phase three on 1 June. Whitehead said to curb the spread of the virus, discipline from the community is required.
South Africa will start getting closer to normality with the lifting of a night-time curfew, citizens being allowed to exercise when they want and to sell and buy alcohol under strict conditions, and many industries able to get back to work.