President Hage Geingob says 2020 has been an extraordinary and challenging year. He says since the Covid-19 outbreak in March, the government has been dealing with safeguarding lives while addressing economic growth.
He says since the last update in November, he expressed concerns that Namibians have become complacent. In 15 days, Namibia has recorded 13 Covid-19-related deaths alone, bringing total deaths to 164. The total number of infections increased to 16 913.
Geingob says it is evident the country is experiencing a second wave of infections and new measures need to be taken.
Public gatherings are being limited to 50 persons indoors and 100 persons outdoors at a time for the next 14 days.
The president adds the wearing of masks remains mandatory and the police will be enforcing this. Owners of shops, malls, bars, shebeens and so on should ensure that people adhere to the health regulations.
Bars, restaurants, nightclubs and others are to close at 22h00 Monday to Sunday.
Geingob adds that people taking public transport should at all times wear their masks and law enforcement officers will enforce compliance.
The president also says Covid-19 will be around for much longer and Namibians should learn to live with it and adhere to the set regulations.
“Covid-19 is fatal,” he notes, and calls for a collective effort from all Namibians to bring the infection rate under control.
The best way to address the pandemic is to adhere to health protocols, wash and sanitise hands, social distance and wear masks properly, Geingob says.
He adds that as Namibians embark on travelling for the festive season, they need to still adhere to regulations.
Health and social services minister Kalumbi Shangula notes Namibia has been reporting an increase in numbers since 1 December; on 11 December the country reported its highest one-day figure of new coronavirus infections, at 324.
He says Namibia continues to report high numbers of healthcare workers testing positive for the virus, with more than 700 to date confirmed to have contracted the virus.
Shangula says the health ministry is running an immunisation programme under which the Covid-19 vaccine will be distributed when it is available.
He says Namibia established a task force to best deal with acquiring the vaccine once available. Namibia will also be one of the first countries in Africa to acquire the vaccine when it comes to the continent.
He notes that healthcare workers will be some of the first to receive the vaccine.