… as Namibia confirms community transmission

by Charmaine Ngatjiheue and Tuyeimo Haidula

AN ALLEGED fugitive from South Africa has tested positive for Covid-19 in Namibia after illegally crossing the border.

Meanwhile, the contacts of the alleged criminal are still being traced, which has also led to some members of the police being quarantined.

The alleged fugitive is believed to be a Namibian with South African citizenship and was arrested for alleged organised criminal activities.

He was apprehended on Saturday at a block of flats in Windhoek’s central business district.

The Namibian has learnt the 33-year-old man visited the flats on Saturday at 13h00 and only left at 19h00 the same day, while sanitising only happened after he left.

The police are working on using CCTV footage at the establishment to trace who he came in contact with. He used the same elevator and doors as residents of the building.

Police inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga confirmed to The Namibian yesterday that the alleged fugitive illegally crossed the Orange River to enter Namibia with the assistance of a police officer and the financial manager of a private South African company.

“Some people on the other side of the border assisted him to cross the river using a canoe, and he got to Windhoek on Friday,” the inspector general said.

He said the suspect was apprehended on Saturday and all those who came in contact with him have been placed in quarantine facilities.

Ndeitunga said the police are still investigating the case and what he is wanted for.

The man is currently in police custody.

He is regarded as case number 33 as announced by minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula yesterday, bringing Namibia’s total number of cases to 34.

“He was taken to a quarantine facility on 14 June (Sunday). A specimen was taken from him for testing. The results were positive for Covid-19. He is asymptomatic and his condition is satisfactory. Contact tracing has commenced,” the minister said.

The owners of the flats where the alleged fugitive resided received a message from the building’s body corporate to enhance adherence to safety measures and avoid panic.

The message read in part: “Please note that due to a recent incident in the complex you are advised to be ever more vigilant about hand sanitising and wearing of masks upon entering and exiting the building.”

The body corporate said it would also increase the frequency of sanitising lifts and door handles.

“There is no need for panic, but we have been advised to maintain the protective measures and not become relaxed about these. Please also advise your tenants to maintain the protocols put in place and sanitise hands. Keep masks on and reduce the number of people in the lift,” the note read.

LOCAL TRANSMISSION


While contacts are being traced for case number 33, Namibia has now confirmed a case of local transmission at Walvis Bay.

This involves case number 34, a 39-year-old Namibian woman, who works at the Walvis Bay Correctional Facility and came in contact with case number 32.

“She has no travel history. Case 34 is a local transmission,” Shangula said.

The minister said the woman developed symptoms including a runny nose, headache and a loss of smell on 3 June.

“She visited her private doctor and was swabbed. She has been admitted to the isolation unit at Walvis Bay and is in a satisfactory condition,” the health minister said.

Meanwhile, case number 32 could possibly also be a local transmission as this case has no travel history.

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