by Charmaine Ngatjiheue

THE guest house worker who came into contact with the Romanian couple from Spain that tested positive for the novel coronavirus says her family is being stigmatised and discriminated against by their community.

“They are referring to us as the coronavirus family. They saw the commotion going on around our house when we were informed about the couple that tested positive,” the worker, who is only identified as Kasuko, said.

In a telephonic interview with The Namibian, Kasuko (20) recounted meeting the couple, saying she came into close contact with them and even touched a few surfaces the couple had touched.

She said she first met the couple on Wednesday when they checked in, accepted their cash payment and showed them around the guest house because it is a self-catering establishment.

“They gave me cash for payment and I passed it on to my colleague who also assisted them. We are only two who work at the guest house. My colleague lives at our place of employment. He was more exposed than I am and he has not received any assistance as far as I know. I was in the kitchen with the Romanian gentleman and he sneezed but I assumed it was just a flu,” she said.

Kasuko was informed by the health ministry last Friday that she has been exposed to the Covid-19 virus because of her contact with the couple who tested positive for the virus.

“First, my employer called me and told me the news and then health officials came to my house after midnight on Friday to formally inform us that we had to isolate ourselves. I was in shock and I could not believe it. What was more painful is that I exposed my family to the virus too. I wish I had known earlier and went elsewhere to quarantine myself,” she said.

The 20-year-old lives in a household of 11 people, with three children (the youngest being three years old) and an 84-year-old grandmother.

Kasuko said none of her family members or herself have shown any symptoms of having the virus. The fear is that the grandmother may have high blood pressure as a result of shock.

“I asked why me, but that is not a fair question, because if it’s not me to go through this, then who should? I would not wish this upon anyone else because it is a very scary experience. I hate that my family has to be so isolated from the rest of the world, and the stigma we are getting from our community. It is not fair on the children to be in such a situation,” she said.

The 20-year-old was tested  on Monday for Covid-19 and is waiting for her results.

Her family has been in isolation for four days so far, and the fear is that they might run out of food and electricity. 

They used to sell a few items, such as ice lollies, popcorn and fatcakes to get money for electricity and other needs that may arise, but that has come to a standstill as a result of the isolation.

Also speaking to The Namibian, Kasuko’s mother said they are in a very precarious situation because food may be an issue and there are children at the house.

“My 84-year-old mother needs to eat special food as recommended by the doctor, but that is now finished and we don’t know how to get it for her because of this. We really do not know how best to deal with this, we need help,” she said.

She added that the family has accepted the situation but are hoping the results come out negative. She added that Kasuko mostly has to be isolated by herself most of the time and unfortunately cannot play with the younger children.

“If her results come out positive for coronavirus, then the whole family would be positive. We are hoping for the best,” the mother said.

Health minister Kalumbi Shangula revealed yesterday that 17 people came into contact with the couple from Spain and they have been isolated.

Speaking to The Namibian, Shangula said the family can contact the ministry to get assistance with food stuffs and so forth.

He said when it comes to quarantining families, the ministry may assist but it depends from case to case.

“They can phone the ministry contact person for assistance. I am sure the ministry is contacting them to enquire about their well-being. The family just needs to discuss any issues with the ministry,” he said.

– charma[email protected]

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