By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek – The world’s largest cargo plane, the An Antonow AN225 touched down on the Hosea Kutako International Airport on Thursday carrying 65 tonnes of medical supplies as a gift from Germany and European Union in response to Namibia’s efforts to respond to the worsening of the COVID-19 outbreak
The donation that was made through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism consists of 300,000 surgical gowns, 60 care beds, and 500,000 face masks.
Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations Nandi-Ndaitwah expressed Namibia’s gratitude “for the consistent support Germany has rendered since the coronavirus has reared its ugly head in Namibia. This support has reached miscellaneous sectors that were impacted by the pandemic.”
German Ambassador to Namibia Herbert Beck has announced that 40,000 antigen rapid tests and 20,000 safety goggles would be delivered next week. This will be followed by further assistance from Germany including ventilators, pulse oximeters, PCR tests, and additional face masks.
Beck said the goods valued at 11.2 million Euros will be handed over to the ministry of health and social services for further distribution.
Ambassador Beck said: “I am glad that the Government of Namibia quickly drew up a list of the goods and services needed to fight Covid so that Germany was able to provide the appropriate support within its means.
“Now that the much more infectious delta variant has also been detected in Namibia, the pressure on the health system will continue to increase. It is good that we can support our Namibian partners and friends in this difficult time and for all of us living here in such a stressful situation by providing practical assistance.”
Namibia, currently under pressure from the third wave of COVID-19 worsened by the Delta variant, the government through the ministry of international relations submitted an emergency assistance request for support to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Namibia fared relatively well during the first months of the pandemic with a low positivity rate, and a low rate of hospitalizations and deaths. However, in the past few weeks, the coronavirus made an unexpected comeback, more aggressive and is spreading faster than ever.
Finland recently donated 2.36 million masks, 200 000 protective visors, 30 000 medical gowns, 100 000 syringes and 189 000 swabs to assist Namibia’s effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
EU Ambassador to Namibia Sinikka Antila has welcomed the donations by the EU member states, as another tangible example of EU solidarity in the face of the pandemic. This support is preceded by the donation from the Finnish Government received last week. Belgium and Norway have also offered medical supplies expected to arrive in Namibia in the coming days, Antila noted.