President Hage Geingob is addressing the nation on new Covid-19 measures. He says 2 129 cases are confirmed in Namibia as of today, with ten deaths. He says the rate of cases in the country is rising, with Namibia being in the top five of Covid-19 cases in Africa.
Erongo region will remain in lockdown until the end of August, Geingob says
Twelve regions countrywide have confirmed cases, with the exception of Omaheke and Kavango West. Geingob says community transmissions of the virus is suspected in Khomas and //Kharas regions, and not only Erongo.
He says the government continues to strengthen the public health sector. With over 27 000 tests conducted so far, there are delays in testing and disclosure of test results despite the country managing to clear the backlog.
Testing laboratories will be set up at Walvis Bay and Oshakati.
With Erongo remaining in lockdown, public gatherings in the rest of the country are to be limited to 100 persons. The sale of alcohol remains as is but on a takeaway basis.
Except for Erongo, other regions remain in stage four of lockdown and are expected to adhere to new regulations coming into effect from 3 August until 17 September.
Face-to-face lessons at early childhood development centres are being suspended for 28 days, while face-to-face Grade 10, 11 and 12 lessons are permitted.
Geingob further says as the pandemic evolves, the government will continue to monitor the national response.
Touching on the Twaloloka fire that claimed the life of a toddler, Geingob says he has heeded the call, and the government started with a decongestion strategy to relocate people. He says the National Housing Enterprise has made land available and the government will buy building materials to relocate people.
Geingob notes the tourism revival plan announced in June has now been approved and would be implemented from Monday. Tourists would not be subjected to a 14-day mandatory quarantine, but will be required to stay at their first destination in Namibia for seven days and to be tested before continuing with their holidays in the country.
Health minister Kalumbi Shangula urges Namibians to be vigilant as the pandemic evolves. He calls on all Namibians to stop the spread of the virus, and prevent the loss of life. “These are the realities of our time and these measures should be complied with, without fail,” he says.
He says steps would be taken to bring more relaxed regulations in quarantine and isolation facilities based on scientific proof.
Longer quarantine and isolation periods are not necessary, and quarantine can be shortened, he says.
Shangula adds travellers would self-quarantine for seven days at approved facilities and would need to arrive with a negative Covid-19 test result not older than seven days. He says travellers would then be tested on day five, and released on test results being negative.
The government is considering using isolation facilities for severe cases, and home isolation would be considered.
The health minister notes current evidence suggests Covid-19 is transmitted through close contact, and the ministry has developed a framework to regard certain health workers as high-risk and others as low-risk. This would depend on their proximity to patients.
Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi says the tourism revival plan takes into consideration saving lives and also livelihoods. He says the tourism sector employs over 100 000 people, with some having already lost their livelihoods. The revival plan “is a pilot project based on the risk profile of the different countries,” Shiimi says.
He adds the country is negotiating with other countries to allow Namibians to travel.
The money Namibia is planning to borrow from the International Monetary Fund is to be used to fund government operations and to fill the gap between the government’s projected income and spending, Shiimi says.
Geingob says Namibia had good reasons to refrain from borrowing from the IMF and World Bank for 30 years. Before the finance minister signs a loan agreement with the IMF, the conditions attached to the loan would have to be considered.