Namibia under COVID-19 strain, as businesses and institutions forced close

By Andreas Thomas

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula
Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula

Windhoek – The Namibian parliament on Tuesday closed its door to the public for 14 days as a precautionary measure after a staff member at the National Council tested positive for Covid-19.

In a public notice, national assembly public relations officer David Nahogandja sad staff members have been asked to stay home, and will only resume on 10 August 2020.

“The temporal closure came as a precautionary measure after one of the staff members of the National Council tested positive for Covid-19. The parliament building is a common area used by members and staff of houses of parliament, therefore, members and staff of the national assembly will for the above-mentioned period be working from home,” Nehogandja explained.

The Khomas region council has also closed its head office in Windhoek on Tuesday after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus. Staff members will be working from until 12 August, the Council said in a statement.

The Namibia Water Corporation has also announced the closure of its head office after one of the staff member tested positive of the coronavirus. The company said the office will remain close for 14 days as of Tuesday.

With cases on the rise across the country, several businesses and institutions in Windhoek have sent their staff over the coronavirus disease.  

The country’s main mobile operator, Mobile Telecommunications Limited was forced to shut down its main call centre after a staff member contracted the virus. Bank Windhoek, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation head office, Windhoek City Police department and the Business and Intellectual Property Authority have also experienced similar incidents.

Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula on Tuesday announced 74 new COVID-19 positive cases across the country. The majority of the cases, 57 in total were recorded in Walvis Bay, the epicentre of the virus, while Windhoek recorded four cases. As of Tuesday, 28 July, Namibian has 1 917 confirmed cases, with 104 recoveries, 1805 active cases and eight fatalities.

Shangula has expressed his worry about the increasing cases of COVID-19 and called on Namibians to adhere to preventive measures like wearing of face masks and observing social distancing protocols.

“In recent weeks, we have observed a worrying upsurge in the number of cases reported. Although the town of Walvis Bay remains the epicentre of the pandemic at present, cases are increasing in other parts of the country.

This is and must be a source of concern for all Namibians. It calls for greater vigilance and personal responsibility of every Namibian to do our part to stop the spread of this disease in its tracts. And it can be done,” said the health minister.

“In the past few weeks, we have seen new cases in Khomas and other Regions. Many of these cases are not connected to other known cases, and they are in individuals who have not travelled. This means that people are becoming infected in their localities, during their everyday activities. It is time for all Namibians to change our behaviours and do everything we can to reduce our risk.”

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