Covid-19 Update … Health minister Kalumbi Shangula says the Covid-19 situation in Namibia has worsened since the previous public briefing and there is evidence that the current rate of infections has “far exceeded the previous wave”.
He said the situation is affecting and is being felt in most regions.
So far 1,350 healthcare workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and six have died.
Shangula added that both state and private hospitals are nearing full capacity, while other facilities are unable to accept new patients, especially in the intensive care units.
Shangula reiterated that there are strong suspicions which the indicate that the South African variant is in Namibia and is the reason for the second wave the country is currently experiencing.
This comes after numerous South African nationals flocked to Namibia for the festive season, and Namibians visiting the neighbouring country.
Shangula said the new measures will start tonight at 23h59 and will be in place for 21 days until 3 February.
▩ Public gatherings are kept at 50 people. Registers of attendeees have to be kept and masks and sanitation maintained. Gatherings shall not exceed two hours.
▩ The restriction of movement (curfew) shall be maintained from 21h00 until 04h00.
▩ The sale of alcohol is maintained from 09h00 to 20h00 from Mondays to Saturdays. No sales of alcohol shall take place on public holidays and Sundays.
▩ Schools will open on 26 January, as announced by Education minister Anna Ester Nghipondoka. Teachers will start on 14 January.
▩ Sport events would be allowed with no spectators.
▩ In terms of hospital visits, only two close family members would be allowed to spend ten minutes with patients.
▩ Non-Namibians will be allowed to enter the country, provided they have a negative Covid-19 test result that is not older than seven days. This would mean they do not need to be quarantined.
▩ Namibians may return with or without a negative test result that is not older than seven days. However, they would be required to quarantine for seven days and thereafter get tested at own cost.
▩ Under the current and new Covid-19 regulations dining tables at restaurants must be separated by a distance of not less than two metres. Shangula said the sanitisation of public spaces is the responsibility of local authorities and the inspection of establishments such as eateries and entertainment areas is up to them.
The health minister says Namibia has paid over N$29 million to the World Health Organisation’s Covax Facility to acquire Covid-19 vaccines and signed a financial agreement to pay off the remainder. The idea is to have 20% of the population vaccinated.
Shangula said the facility has indicated that Namibia can receive its first doses by end of January or early February 2021.
Bilateral talks have been conducted with China, among others, as well as Pfizer and other vaccine manufacturers to acquire doses or donations.
According to the minister, for Namibia to reach “herd immunity” it will need to have 60% of the population vaccinated.