President Hage Geingob has complimented all frontline workers, saying that they are leading the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have reached a critical moment in this fight [against Covid-19],” he said.
Geingob was speaking at the national Covid-19 briefing at State House on Wednesday afternoon.
This comes as the country recorded 32 741 new infections and 613 deaths between 1 and 29 June 2021.
Geingob said the number of new cases have tripled from 507 to 1 798 per day, with a positivity rate over 40%.
“This means four out of every 10 people that you interact with are likely to be positive,” Geingob said.
Over 15 days, Khomas reported 42% of the total cases in the country, followed by Erongo with 12%.
“It is expected to get worse, but it will get better,” the president said.
Geingob said there are clear indications that the delta Covid-19 variant is in Namibia.
President Hage Geingob has announced the following measures against Covid-19 that start at midnight tonight for 14 days:
- Movement restriction is extended to all regions. The entire country to go into lockdown except for essential workers and when it comes to the burials of close family members;
- Public gatherings stay at 10 people per event;
- Curfew is from 21:00 to 04:00;
- All public and private schools and higher education institutions are suspended and are on holiday until 26 July 2021;
- The sale of alcohol is restricted to 09:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Thursday on a takeaway basis;
- All food establishments may only sell food on a takeaway basis;
- Hairstylists and salons, parlours and spas are to remain open with restrict adherence to the regulations;
- Gyms, nightclubs and gamble houses remain closed; and
- Burials are to take place within 10 days.
Health minister Kalumbi Shangula says health facilities have admitted the highest number of patients in the country’s history over recent weeks. Mortuaries have reached maximum capacity.
“Measures announced are designed to help Namibia break the chain of transmission and the occurrence of new infections. The overall goal is to protect lives and preserve livelihoods in the face of this devastating wave,” says health minister Kalumbi Shangula.
Regarding infrastructure, health minister Kalumbi Shangula said there are a total of 1 732 isolation beds countrywide in the public and private sectors, of which 143 are ICU beds.
“In the next few days, government will commission two field hospitals in Windhoek and Oshakati with a capacity of 70 and 40 beds, respectively. Another building at the Katutura State Hospital complex, with a capacity of 46 beds and the Katutura hospital nurses hall have been repurposed and will also be opened for use in the coming days,” he said.
Shangula said another 100-bed unit would be constructed at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital soon. He said site work has already commenced. This will increase the number of isolation beds to 2 024 countrywide and enhance access to medical care for those who will need it most, he said.
Regarding oxygen supply, Shangula said deliberate steps have been taken to improve the supply and availability of life-saving oxygen at health facilities.
“Three weeks ago, a 20-ton bulk oxygen tank was installed to provide oxygen to the 76-bed respiratory unit at the Katutura hospital, where Covid-19 patients are admitted. The existing bulk oxygen tanks at the Tsumeb and Walvis Bay state hospitals, with a capacity of 6,5 tons each, will also be filled as required to ensure adequate care,” he said.
Furthermore, a new gas-generating unit with a capacity of producing 370 litres of oxygen per minute was installed at the Windhoek Central Hospital a week ago, Shangula said. It will supply the dedicated 15-bed Covid-19 ICU and high-care unit at the central hospital, he said.
A similar unit was installed at the Walvis Bay hospital with the support of the private sector last year, he added.
He said the ministry has also engaged Afrox to install a 13-ton bulk oxygen tank at the Oshakati State Hospital soon.
Shangula shared that 300 portable oxygen cylinders have been delivered in Windhoek.
“They will be taken to Afrox to be filled and will be distributed to health facilities across the country, especially to facilities in remote areas. Government is also pursuing the option of procuring oxygen concentrators to be distributed to various public health facilities around the country as part of the intervention,” he said.