by Ester Mbathera

THE Erongo region emergency operation centre has put together a regional Covid-19 management plan, which it presented to a visiting task team at Walvis Bay on Wednesday.

The plan was proposed to address the current situation in the region, as the framework to deal with the Covid-19 crisis was found to be inadequate.

Lieutenant colonel Aktofel Kwedhi, operations officer at the Erongo region emergency operations centre, said the current management plan failed because resources deployed to manage the novel coronavirus outbreak have been overwhelmed by the increasing number of cases.

This has left communities, especially at Walvis Bay, frustrated about the way the regional and town leadership have been dealing with the situation.

“The current situation is worrisome and this means that the implementation of the universal strategic frameworks is not adequately addressing the crisis in which the region finds itself,” said Kwedhi.

The Erongo emergency operation centre crafted a new plan with the objectives to mitigate the current situation at Walvis Bay and specifically Kuisebmond, which is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

According to Kwedhi, the response plans involve clustering Kuisebmond into smaller or manageable blocks for better incident management, evacuating people out of restricted areas on a voluntary basis and decongesting residents that are overcrowded to other places.

The decongestion plan, which is aimed at reducing the number of people per residential plot, is now under way, with the Municipality of Walvis Bay clearing some open spaces in the community to be turned into temporary settlements.

For the plan to work, Kwedhi stressed, it would require combined efforts by all stakeholders and should be urgently discussed with the involvement of communities for implementation.

According to a report by the Erongo emergency operation centre, 60% of the people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus at Walvis Bay are still in their communities because of a lack of isolation facilities. The town needs 600 isolation beds while the number of people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus and need these facilities exceed 1 000.

Walvis Bay has fewer than 400 beds for quarantine, while people that need these facilities number more than 2 000, leaving most traced contacts of infected people in their communities.

Fewer than 80 health workers have been deployed to deal with the pandemic in the region, particularly at Walvis Bay.

Logistical resources such as ambulances, ventilators, swabbing kits, state laboratories, hospitals for Covid-19 patients and other supporting requirements deployed to support the operations are said to be limited as well.

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