by Adam Hartman
ERONGO regional governor Cleophas Mutjavikua said the partial lockdown on Khomas and Erongo was because the two regions are the country’s largest economic centres.
Mutjavikua told a media conference yesterday that although there have been no records of coronavirus cases in the region, it was vital that stricter measures are put in place to curtail the spread of the virus.
“There are and have been no infections in Erongo. Let us keep it that way,” he said.
Namibia has registered seven cases of Covid-19 so far (within a space of about 10 days).
Mutjavikua clarified that the nearly 200 000 citizens of Erongo may move within the region, but may not move out of it. Nor can anyone else from outside Erongo come into Erongo. There are exceptions though, which include the transporting of essential services and goods, and qualified cases of emergency.
Residents may travel from town to town, according to Mutjavikua, but only if they have good reason to. Those residents who think they can escape the lockdown through recreational excuses such as going to the beach, fishing, walking the dog, outings and camping, must think again.
“Just imagine if everyone in the region decides to go to the beach, or fishing, or walking the dog, or camping! Then we have movement and congregation, and this defeats the purpose. People need to take this seriously. We must try and be home-bound and avoid coming together,” he said. “We don’t have to panic; we just have to be responsible.”
For those who think this is not serious, or who defy the directives, they would have to face the law-enforcers – though it will be with “minimal enforcement”.
As to whether food will be available, Mutjavikua said certain shops and stores that especially supply food and medicines, will be open. But this excludes restaurants (where people congregate) – but take-away and corner shops would still be allowed to operate. People need to eat. Other non-essential businesses will be closed, and people may work from home if they can.
“This is an inconvenience in an independent Namibia that we cannot avoid. Now the entire economic order will be disturbed, but we need to do this. If we do not do this, it will become worse,” he warned.
He said periodic updates will be given to ensure the correct information gets out and is interpreted correctly.
Measures have also been put in place to ensure the region’s citizens will have water, even if they are in arrears with accounts. This does not mean they are exempted from paying their water bills or debt; it just means they have water during this extraordinary emergency situation.