CHARMAINE NGATJIHEUE and ESTER MBATHERA

A WALVIS BAY mother who passed the contagious novel coronavirus on to her newborn child is now hoping for the best for both of them as the country grapples with a spiking number of cases.

Her pain is much the agony of the multitudes of Covid-19 stricken victims in the Erongo region, which has now become the epicentre of the virus in Namibia.

This comes after minister of health Kalumbi Shangula announced another set of bad news yesterday, showing a challenging scenario at the coastal town.

Yesterday, the minister announced 38 new infections, 37 of those coming from Walvis Bay.

The mother and her baby were part of the roughly 120 new Covid-19 positive cases recorded between Friday and yesterday.

This brought Namibia’s total cases to 412 as of yesterday afternoon, with 25 recoveries and 387 active cases.

Shangula said the mother was transferred from Walvis Bay and she gave birth through a Caesarian section.

“The mother was an emergency maternal case referral from Walvis Bay. She was tested in Windhoek and was found positive. She underwent a Caesarean section. The baby also tested positive…,” Shangula told The Namibian yesterday.

The minister said from the 38 new infections announced yesterday, the youngest was a two-month-old baby.

One case is from Engela, in the Ohangwena region, of a 25-year-old woman who had travelled from Walvis Bay on 17 June 2020.

“She was put in quarantine on 25 June 2020. A specimen was taken from her on 26 June 2020,” he said.

According to the minister, 22 of the new cases are females and 16 are males.

“The youngest is two-months old and the oldest is 63 years old. Fourteen are contacts of confirmed cases. Contacts of the remaining 24 are still to be established,” Shangula noted.

According to the minister, 14 had symptoms consistent with Covid-19 at the time of specimen collection; nine were identified through active case searches.

“They are all in stable condition. Contact tracing is ongoing,” the minister added.

NBC staff at Swakop self-isolate

Meanwhile, eleven Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) employees at the Erongo regional offices at Swakopmund have been put in self-isolation after one of the staff members tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday.

NBC director general Stanley Similo confirmed to The Namibian yesterday that the employees were waiting for further directives from health officials.

This turn of events has led to the temporary closure of the office. TV news coverage is affected but Similo said the corporation will make use of employees from government news outlets such as the Namibia Press Agency (Nampa), the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, and New Era newspaper.

“We are also in the internal process to see who we can dispatch to that side. We are busy with those arrangements. The Erongo area won’t be affected because of the closure of the office in relation to the staff that are currently there,” he said.

The Namibian understands that the NBC employee was at the office last week and displayed flu-like symptoms which prompted other staff members to ask their colleague to leave the building and seek medical intervention. According to Similo, the operations of HartklopFM and National Radio and Funkhaus FM which also have reporters at the Swakopmund office, have not been affected as audio reporting will be done from the Windhoek studios.

The NBC office at Swakopmund is headed by a regional manager veteran TV news journalist Celle Nkuvi and employs 14 people, consisting of journalists, camera operators, radio presenters, an office administrator and a cleaner.

“For the safety of everybody, including the people of the Erongo region, we have agreed that all our staff must self-isolate until we are medically informed what their respective individual positions would be medically,” said Similo.

The office was decontaminated and cleaned on Saturday and will remain closed pending the test outcomes of the employees.

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