by Charmaine Ngatjiheue

TESTING capacity for the novel coronavirus will be intensified in Windhoek after the city reported 73 new Covid-19 cases yesterday.

TESTED … Samples are taken from journalist Shelleygan Petersen to be tested for Covid-19. Photo: MICT

This also follows after experts said the city is poised to become the epicentre of the outbreak in Namibia.

The 73 positive cases in Windhoek are part of 152 new cases in the country as announced by minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula yesterday.

Shangula said 28 cases are from one area, while 10 cases were reportedly from the same household.

Moreover, four of the cases constitute healthcare workers.

Shangula said the Windhoek cases are linked to one another and are increasing on a daily basis.

“We are strengthening control measures in Windhoek as well as in all areas to curb the further spread. These include increasing testing, and increasing isolation and quarantine facilities, among others,” he said.

Meanwhile, Walvis Bay reported 64 new cases, Swakopmund 9, Okahandja 2, Otjiwarongo 1, Nankudu 1, Mariental 1 and Outapi 1.

The 152 positive cases are from 1 190 tests conducted, and includes 96 males and 56 females.

“The youngest is six months old, while the oldest is 77 years old,” Shangula said.

He said the case reported at Outapi is that of a 26-year-old female who travelled from Windhoek on 22 July and had no contact with a confirmed case. She was tested on 31 July as she presented with Covid-19-related symptoms.

The two Okahandja cases involve a 37-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman, who are both contacts of confirmed cases.

The case reported at Otjiwarongo is that of a 16-year-old female, a contact of a confirmed case.

The Nankudu case involves a 40-year-old cross-border truck driver, who came from South Africa on 28 July. He was tested on 3 August and did not present with symptoms at the time he was tested, Shangula said.

The Mariental case is a 43-year-old healthcare worker. She was tested on 5 August as part of an active case search.

“She did not have symptoms consistent with Covid-19 by then, but later developed symptoms. She had been in contact with confirmed cases,” the minister said.

Yesterday, Shangula said the country reported 11 recoveries who were discharged on Sunday.

All the recoveries are from Windhoek.

The country now has 3 101 confirmed cases with 715 recoveries, 2 367 active cases and 19 deaths.

Of the active cases, Shangula said six are seriously ill.

“Six patients are in a critical condition. Four of these are in Khomas while two are in the Erongo region,” he said.

Namibia Centres for Disease Control director Eric Dziuban yesterday said it seems Windhoek is now the epicentre of Namibia’s Covid-19 outbreak.

This could be due to the fact that testing at Walvis Bay is not as extensive any more as the country needs to spread its testing resources to more cities now, he said.

Dziuban said Windhoek is much larger than Walvis Bay, which could see case numbers in the capital rising much higher than at the coast.

“This is the time for citizens and authorities in Windhoek to take the situation extremely seriously. Even if gatherings up to 100 people are permitted, ask yourself if it is still worth having the event if somebody might end up hospitalised because of it. Masks don’t do much good if they cover your face when entering a shop, but end up on your chin while you are buying your items,” Dziuban said.

He said people should avoided crowded places like churches.

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