COVID-19 UPDATE: President Hage Geingob says Namibia is working to strengthen its Covid-19 testing capacity seeing that the country has the highest rate of infections in Africa.
Geingob says the country is monitoring the geographic spread of the virus, saying the Khomas region has shown a sharp rise in the number of cases. He says the top three regions with high cases are Erongo, Khomas and //Kharas while the other regions are experiencing sporadic and cluster community transmissions.
To date, Geingob says 65 people have succumbed to the deadly virus.
He stressed that most of the deaths were recorded in August.
Geingob announced two of Namibia’s youngest Covid-19 related deaths, one of which was a 17-year-old girl with pre-existing conditions and the other being that of a 25-year-old who had no underlying conditions.
The president said Namibians should adhere to all health and hygiene protocols to curb the spread of the virus especially to those who are susceptible.
He added that with the new isolation and quarantine protocols, asymptomatic patients can safely isolate at home.
The president said the government will assess the next measures and stage three will be extended to all 14 regions. Travel restrictions remain for Khomas region, while for Erongo region travel restrictions particularly Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis will be lifted.
Geingob said vocational education and universities will continue operating in the country including Windhoek while Grade 10, 11, and 12 will continue with school. He added that Grade 0 to 9 will reopen on 7 September.
Health minister Kalumbi Shangula on Friday afternoon said there is increased fear and anxiety in communities on the Covid-19.
In this regard, he said the ministry has set up procedures and legal requirements on any death related to Covid-19.
He said the relevant controls and prevention measures need to be adhered to to avoid any transmissions from bodies.
He added that all burials will be handled by the government. Shangula said it is vital to see if a deceased person is infected with Covid-19 by the time of death in order to see how the body will be handled if it is found positive.
He said a sample will be collected from any body.
According to WHO autopsies will not be conducted unless it is important to determine the cause of death.
Shangula said Namibia has been engaging the international community regarding the adoption of a Covid-19 vaccine. More information in this regard will be provided to the public in the upcoming fee weeks.
He said when a safe vaccine is launched, Namibians will also have access to it.
Shangula said for now the only vaccine available is strictly following the regulations set by government such as avoiding social gatherings, wearing a mask and washing hands regularly among others.
The government has made available a significant amount of resources to fight Covid-19 and a sustainability report has been finalised, Shangula said.
He added the report covers the period from 1 April to date and will be made available to Cabinet in the coming few weeks.
Education minister Anna Nghipondoka said the ministry is giving breathing space between the opening of schools to ensure that by the time pupils return, everything would be in order.
She said parents are required to tell school authorities if their children have underlying health conditions and cannot return to school. She said this is needed to arrange for learning from home.