by Charmaine Ngatjiheue and Taati Niilenge
PRESIDENT Hage Geingob on Friday made leeway for people living at Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis to access all other regions of the country, except Windhoek.
Yesterday, residents started travelling out of the Erongo region in droves amid fears that the virus would now spike in the northern and other parts of the country.
The move brought a sigh of relief to coastal residents who had endured roughly three months under a hard lockdown.
The president on Friday said: “For the Khomas region, the current dispensation will be maintained and extended. Travel restrictions remain in force prohibiting exit and entry into the restricted City of Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth local authority areas.”
Geingob said stage 3 regulations have been extended across all 14 regions of the country for an additional 14 days.
The extension came into effect on 29 August to last until midnight on 12 September 2020, with additional measures.
The president also extended the daily curfew from 20h00 to 05h00 to the rest of the country.
Public gatherings remain limited to a maximum of 10 people countrywide.
The Hosea Kutako International Airport will, however, open on 1 September (tomorrow) as part of the international tourism revival initiative – despite the travel ban in Windhoek.
Geingob said the rate of infection continues to accelerate.
It took the country four months to record the first 1 000 cases, but it took only 14 days to record 2 000 cases, 11 to record 3 000 cases and only six days to reach the 4 000 mark.
He said: “At the current rate, it is taking the country on average three days to record a thousand new cases.”
Geingob said the country currently has the highest rate of new infections in Africa, and there are now confirmed cases in most of the 34 health districts, with the exception of Andara, Aranos and Nyangana.
“In terms of testing coverage, Namibia has tested 21 people per one thousand persons as at 27 August 2020. This is among the highest rates of testing coverage on the continent, surpassed only by South Africa and Rwanda,” he said.
THE RACE OUT OF THE REGION
Police at Walvis Bay were on Friday afternoon inundated with phone calls from Erongo residents wanting to travel to other towns.
Some residents had already packed their belongings to leave as soon as possible.
However, inspector Ileni Shapumba, Namibian police community affairs commander in the Erongo region, advised travellers to travel safely as from yesterday morning.
He said the police are expecting an increase in the flow of public transport from the region, and other parts of the country, and urged drivers to travel responsibly.