by Okeri Ngutjinazo and Terttu Newaka

HEALTH minister Kalumbi Shangula yesterday said the Romanian couple who tested positive for novel coronavirus in Namibia, have recovered and are ready to return to their country.

The couple had been living in Spain for years. Health minister Kalumbi Shangula yesterday told The Namibian that the couple is preparing to return to Spain as soon as they are cleared of the virus. 

The couple arrived in the country on 11 March and while they were screened on arrival in the country, they did not show any signs of Covid-19. However, later that day, one of them went to a private medical practice complaining of a cough.

Samples were taken from both partners and sent to South Africa and positive results were received on 13 March. The husband informed The Namibian last week that he was recovering well, while his wife was asymptomatic. Last week, Namibia recorded its third case of a coronavirus infection, after a 61-year-old German national who travelled to Namibia tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, a second KLM Royal Dutch Airlines plane carrying Namibians from the Netherlands is set to land in the country on Wednesday morning. 

The first group of 35 people returning from coronavirus-ravaged Europe landed at Hosea Kutako International Airport on Saturday. 

The Dutch airline issued a statement last Friday stating that in light of the travel restrictions being implemented, they are changing their flight routes to bring passengers home.

“For Namibia, KLM flights from Windhoek to Amsterdam will be secured until 26 March 2020. With effect from 27 March, KLM will suspend its flights from Windhoek to Amsterdam until further notice,” the statement read. 

However, due to Angolan airspace closure, the airline has to adapt the routing of the last flights directly from/to Windhoek without stopping in Luanda. 

Only Namibian passport holders or permanent resident holders will be allowed to board the plane to Windhoek. 

The ministry’s executive director, Ben Nangombe, said the second group would not be placed with the first that arrived on Saturday as that would affect those who are already under quarantine. He added that the ministry is making arrangements to accommodate the second group. Nangombe could not confirm the number of passengers who will be returning, saying that will be announced when they board the plane as some might cancel their flight. 


One of the quarantined persons said a team was sent to the facility yesterday to clean carpets and mattresses. 

The Namibian reported on Monday that people under quarantine had described the facility as poorly maintained with some rooms smelling mice urine and rat droppings. However, she said the group still remains in the dark regarding their fate.

“There has been no progress in terms of the centre communication. There is no representative from the ministry of health to tell us what is going on and what will be happening,” she said.

“Our passports were taken from us  on the plane upon arrival and we are yet to get them back,” she continued. The Namibian is reliably informed that the group has been receiving food from a catering company based in Windhoek.

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