Namibia reverts to Stage 3 of COVID-19 restrictions
By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek– To arrest the spread of Covid-19 being observed in recent weeks, the Namibian government has decided to adjust national interventions by reverting the whole country to Stage 3 of the COVID-19 State of Emergency for 16 days.
President Hage Geingob announced on Tuesday that the new measures under Stage 3 come into force on Wednesday until 28 August 2020.
President Geingob explained that the decision is consistent with the national response strategy to migrate between stages of restriction, depending on the changing situation in the country.
He noted that the number of confirmed cases for coronavirus have increased exponentially in recent weeks, with cases reported in 14 regions of the country.
The country has now recorded a total number of 3,406 confirmed cases with 22 COVID-19 related deaths.
On 29 June, 13 regions migrated to Stage 4 level of restriction, except the Erongo Region that remained under Stage 3, with special restrictions put in place for the towns of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis.
These restrictions have now been extended to the capital Windhoek, which has recorded more cases of coronavirus in the past few days. The special dispensations are also applicable to the towns of Okahandja, 70km north of Windhoek and Rehoboth, which is 90km south of the capital.
Health and Social Services Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said travel into and out of the restricted local authority areas to the rest of the country will be restricted to emergencies only.
Unhindered travel will be permitted within the country, except for the restricted local authority areas including Windhoek. People leaving the restricted areas, apart from critical and essential service providers will be quarantined at their own cost upon arrival at their destinations.
Movement in Windhoek and other restricted areas will not be permitted between 8:00 p.m. to 05:00 a.m. daily, except for permitted essential service providers.
To enforce the regulations, Shangula said checkpoints will be introduced at specified locations within the City of Windhoek and on the parameters of the restricted areas to control movements.
Meanwhile, face-to-face classes for Grade 10, 11 and 12 learners will continue. While tertiary institutions are to revert to online teaching and learning. The pre-primary and to Grade 9 will remain closed.
Across the country, public gatherings will be limited to 10 persons, including weddings, funerals and religious gatherings. Restaurants in the restricted areas shall operate under on a takeaway basis only. Nightclubs, gambling houses and casinos will remain closed.
“These have not been easy decisions to take, but they are necessary,” says President Geingob. He said the new measures are aimed to suppress the spread of Covid-19, to protect the lives of Namibians.
“The confirmation of clustered community transmissions is of great concern. If left unchecked, this pandemic will be catastrophic for our country in terms of lives lost, the economy and increased physical suffering due to illness,” said the head of state,” he said.
Shangula on his part cautioned the public that “we are now at a critical stage. The public must strictly adhere to the regulations and health and hygiene protocols which are our first-line defence. The law enforcement agencies must enforce these measures.”
He said the ministries of health and education will intensify the dissemination of public service messages to educate the public about the dangers of Covid-19 and how our people can prevent its further spread.
“We are standing at a critical point. What we do now will determine the trajectory of this pandemic in our country. To prevent further spread of the virus demands utmost discipline in all our actions, whether at home, at work or in public spaces,” said the Health Minister.