ERONGO region is stepping up measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, after a truck driver tested positive for the disease over the weekend at Walvis Bay.

Neville Itope

This trucker became Namibia’s 21st case of the virus. It is alleged he was infected when he was transporting essential goods from South Africa.

Erongo governor Neville Itope yesterday told the media that an emergency meeting of members of the disaster risk management committee was held on Tuesday to discuss a proper response to the latest case.

Itope said the regional health directorate will strengthen its testing, screening and education in the communities and especially in areas where the truck driver was seen mixing with the local communities.

“Hotspots will be identified and aggressive testing, screening and education will be done. All people who seem to have been in contact with the truck driver are being traced and will be quarantined,” he said, adding the health directorate was further tasked to identify more quarantine and isolation facilities.

As for law enforcement, the governor said there will be increased surveillance to get information of whom the truck driver was in contact with.

The Covid security cluster has also been tasked to resume patrols in the communities, while also enforcing the Dune 7 roadblock to stop trucks from using the C13 road, which leads to Walvis Bay.Trucks which offload at Namport will be escorted.

Namport will do its part by considering how best to ease the issue of loading and off-loading, and as a result, ease the trucks’ waiting period, preventing drivers from going into town and mixing with other people.

Itope said the committee is continuing to engage truck owners to ensure trucking operations in and around Erongo are better controlled and coordinated.

He, however, urged long distance hauling companies not to use Covid-19 emergency as an excuse to lay off workers, urging employers to rather opt for provisions within the stimulus package for employers or companies affected by the pandemic.

“Erongo, being the backbone of the economy, relies heavily on the support of the private sector. My office therefore pledges support to the private sector and plea their compliance to the legal provisions that govern their operations and to protect their workers and customers during this difficult time,” said Itope.

At the same press conference, councillor for Walvis Bay Urban constituency Knowledge Ipinge said there is a lot of information on various platforms regarding Covid-19, which are not always trustworthy.

“There is a lot of false information and propaganda going around and therefore it has been decided by the disaster risk management committee that all communication with regards to Covid-19 will only be done by the governor,” he said.

Itope confirmed that a centralised communication strategy had been adopted.

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