by Charmaine Ngatjiheue

DEATHS attributed to the novel coronavirus have spiked to 39, with two more fatalities announced yesterday.

The death toll is expected to spike even further with the high numbers of Covid-19 cases being recorded, especially in Windhoek, which has now become the epicentre, eclipsing Walvis Bay.

Health and social services minister Kalumbi Shangula yesterday announced 201 new coronavirus cases with 158 of them from Windhoek, with Walvis Bay reporting 17 and Swakopmund 11.

The director of the Centres for Disease Control Eric Dziuban said the increases in numbers of deaths due to Covid-19 are usually delayed by about two weeks after the increases in numbers of new cases.

“Given how much the numbers of new cases have gone up recently, we should be prepared for more deaths, unfortunately. Each of us, by doing our part to stop community transmission and protect our vulnerable and healthcare workers, can help prevent these tragic losses of life,” he told The Namibian yesterday.

The two deaths announced yesterday are from Windhoek and Gobabis. The one from Gobabis is that of an 84-year-old woman who was in Windhoek before she travelled to her home village at Aminuis.

While in Windhoek, she had come in contact with a relative who tested positive for Covid-19. She presented to a local health facility on 13 August 2020 with symptoms consistent with the virus and was admitted and tested on the same day.

The deceased is known to have had multiple medical conditions and her condition deteriorated, leading to her death on Sunday.

The one from Khomas was of a 73-year-old man from Windhoek. He presented to a local health facility on 12 August 2020 with symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

He was admitted to a local health facility on the same day and was tested. He is also known to have underlying medical conditions. His condition deteriorated and he died on1Tuesday.

CAPITAL BECOMES EPICENTRE

The capital city’s total cases currently stand at 1 341, with 15 deaths.

Dziuban added that it is not surprising that Windhoek is clearly now the epicentre of the virus in Namibia, saying this is because it is the largest city and the centre of so much activity in Namibia.

“But this is reason for all of us to immediately increase our seriousness about preventing infections here,” he said.

The CDC director, however, said one cannot yet know if Walvis Bay is truly past its first coronavirus peak.

He added that in the coming days when the number of cases turning out positive among those tested at Walvis Bay can be determined, week by week, it will clarify if the decreasing numbers are because of fewer infections, or less testing.

“We are not able to know how long it will take for the curve in Windhoek to flatten, because much of that depends on how people respond in their daily decisions about social distancing and wearing masks. We should be prepared for at least two more difficult weeks in Windhoek with high numbers of new infections,” Dziuban noted.

He said if Namibians don’t take measures to stop transmission seriously, then it will stretch into several more weeks.

Yesterday Shangula announced that Oshakati had recorded seven new cases, Otjiwarongo two, Okahandja one, Okakara one, Rehoboth two, and Katima Mulilo two.

“It is no doubt that Windhoek has taken over Walvis Bay in the number of confirmed cases and it is now the epicentre of Covid-19 in Namibia. Today (Wednesday) we record the highest number of cases in Windhoek, 158. We should redouble our efforts in observing preventive measures,” the minister said.

He stressed that the virus does not travel, it is people who move and spread it, saying the restriction of movements also means cutting the transmission from spreading further.

“Staying home should not just be a message but we should really observe that as much as possible,” he said.

Shangula noted that the Oshana region is among the six regions with high population densities and it is worrisome that cases in those regions have started to pick up with a high speed.

“We should not wait for the cases to become overwhelming for us to up our interventions in this area. Today we record seven cases from Oshana and a total of 54 cases in the last two weeks with an average of four cases per day,” he stressed.

The country yesterday reported 19 recoveries from Khomas.

Namibia now has 4 665 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 2 426 recoveries, 2 200 active cases and 39 deaths.

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