Namibia: President Geingob foregoes birthday wishes in favour of national COVID-19 effort

By Andreas Thomas

Last year President Geingob feted his birthday with senior citizens

Windhoek –President Hage Geingob has declined complimentary adverts for his 79thbirthday, calling on well-wishers to instead make donations to the national effort against the COVID-19 crisis.

It has become a custom for government institutions and businesses to fork out thousands of dollars buying advertisements space in newspapers to wish the head of state good health on his birthday.

The president will celebrate his birthday on Monday, 3 August.

But in light of the accelerated the response of the government to fight the coronavirus crisis, President Geingob has urged businesses and individuals to donate to the COVID-19 National Disaster Fund.

“In the form of COVID-19, we are faced with a deadly and invisible enemy. During this period, the health of Namibians remains the biggest priority. The Government alone cannot defeat the virus and needs everyone to play a role in arresting the spread and assisting the vulnerable among us.

For the occasion of my 79th birthday on 3 August 2020, I encourage corporates and individuals not to place adverts in newspapers and other publications. Instead, and in light of the gravity of COVID-19, I urge corporates and individuals to contribute monetary resources or in kind-donations to the national response.

I wish to thank corporates and individuals who have so far demonstrated care to fellow citizens by contributing to our national response. For those of you who are planning to contribute to mark my birthday, I wish to thank you in advance for your generosity. Yes, together we can defeat COVID-19,” Geingob said in a media statement on Thursday.

A surge in COVID-19 cases over the past weeks has put tremendous pressure on the public health facilities, mostly in the hard-hit Erongo region. The situation has forced health authorities to let go of people that have been in quarantine for more than three weeks.

Deputy Health and Social Services Minister Dr. Esther Muinjangue said most people including those in quarantine camp at Henties Bay have been waiting for the test results.

She explained that have been in quarantine as contacts of people that tested positive for COVID-19, though they did not show any symptoms related to the illness.

“Their test results have not been forthcoming and it was decided that they are allowed to return home,” Muinjangue said.

Dr. Kaveto Sikuvi, the deputy chairperson of the National COVID-19 Case Management Team told media that people that have been in quarantine for longer than three weeks do not pose any threat to the public when they return home.

As of Wednesday, Namibia has recorded 1986 positive cases of coronavirus, with nine deaths. The majority of cases have been recorded at the harbour town of Walvis Bay, in west-central Namibia.

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