Presidency Shuts down COVID-19 hits highest echelons of Namibian Government
By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek – The COVID-19 pandemic has infiltrated the top echelons of the Namibian government, after the Presidency on Friday announced a temporary shutdown after a senior official tested positive for coronavirus.
The decision to shut down the Office of the President comes after a Presidential Advisor, Mrs Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi tested positive for COVID-19 on 13 August.
Zaamwani-Kamwi is President Hage Geingob’s advisor on constitutional affairs and private sector interface.
The Office noted in a public notice that Zaamwani-Kamwi, who remains asymptomatic, is in self- isolation, and was infected after coming in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
“The Presidency will be disinfected over the weekend and staff members will work from home for the coming seven day period. Only essential staff will report for duty. The Presidency wishes to thank you, the Namibian public for your understanding during this period,” the presidency said in a statement.
Earlier in the week, President Geingob undertook a precautionary COVID-19 test on 11 August, of which the results came out negative on Wednesday, 12 August 2020.
“I felt I was exposed by some of my kids, and also not feeling well because of old age and I was feeling something in my chest, and I am a close person to doctors, because I believe in early detection, so that prompted me to get tested,” Geingob said in the capital on Wednesday, while explaining his decision to get tested.
Cabinet Secretary Dr George Simataa who also works closely with President Geingob this past week came out publically to disclose about his coronavirus status and is currently in isolation.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and her deputy, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who also doubles as the minister for international relations and cooperation, are also in self-isolation after coming into contact with confirmed coronavirus cases.
This was revealed by Health and Social Minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula, who also said he will, undergoes mandatory tests after several staff members at his ministry tested positive for COVID-19.
Shangula told media this week that the health ministry’s head office in Windhoek has been closed for a week to be fumigated and that staff members will be tested including members of the ministerial executive.
Several deputy ministers have been in isolation after they took a working visit to Erongo region, the epicenter of coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The group led by Hafeni Ndemuula, the Deputy Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation was dispatched to the central-western region to assess the situation in the hardest-hit coastal towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
The coronavirus community transmission has been on the rise in the southern African country, which prompted the government to introduce a nighttime curfew in hotspot areas including the capital, Windhoek.
President Geingob on Wednesday announced 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that will last for 16 days, to curb the transmission of COVID-19.
The whole country has also reverted to Stage 3 of the COVID-19 State of Emergency from Stage 4.
As of Thursday, 13 August, Namibia has 3544 confirmed cases of coronavirus of which 2669 are active, 848 recoveries and 27 fatalities.