LOCKDOWN … President Hage Geingob says Namibia’s prompt action to close borders and restricted movement has helped contain the spread of the disease. He said the measures were necessary and effective, calling on Namibians to adhere to set regulations.
Speaking at State House this afternoon, Geingob said the countrywide lockdown would lapse on 5 May 2020. Some restrictions would be relaxed in line with that.
The president further said the state of emergency would remain for another six months. He added that in line with that, Namibia has adopted four stages of the current situation; stage one, which is the current lockdown situation, stage two is reopening of the economy from 5 May to 1 June, while stage three and four will follow suit.
He added that stage two measures includes all public members to wear masks, and the government would assist in distributing these masks. Borders will remain closed for none Namibians, but returning Namibians would be allowed entry. Certain businesses would reopen but would need to adhere to hygiene restrictions. Shopping malls and retail outlets will open, resturarants will operate on a takeaway basis, alcohol remains prohibited.
He reiterated that Namibia has an alcohol problem and crime has gone down since the prohibition of the sale of alcohol throughout the country. He said the high-risk activities that would not be allowed includes cinemas, gyms, contact sports, gambling houses, night clubs and entertainment events.
Geingob noted that the stage three and four measures are available. He said the measures have interrupted lives and the fight against Covid-19 calls for concerted efforts.
Also speaking at State House, finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi said the emergency income grant has benefited half a million people, with over N$400 million paid out. The application process which has been active for two weeks, closes today. He said the public will receive SMSs as to what will happen next and advised them to verify information with their constituency councillors.
Justice minister Yvonne Dausab said the state of emergency, which came into effect on 23 March, remains in place until September. She however said that from 5 May 2020, new regulations would be set up, governing stage two.
The current regulations in place, including the proclamation of suspension of various laws, would lapse. There would be a new regime of laws when Namibia heads to stage two.
Information minister Peya Mushelenga added that with the regulations in place, those spreading fake news would be dealt with.
Mushelenga added that pupils may still not go to school, and would continue with remote learning. He also said public gatherings have been restricted to 10 people.
Deputy prime minister and minister of international relations Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibians abroad have been reporting themselves to the country’s missions, while some have been stranded and the government is dealing with that.
She said Namibians should continue to report themselves. The minister added that there are still a number of Namibians in South Africa and the majority of them are students, while others are medical professionals.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the government is currently facilitating their travels and the ministry would continue to monitor the situation internationally.