Former health minister Benhard Haufiku to lead the COVID-19 team
Namibia has closed borders with Angola, Botswana, South Africa and Zambia as the country’s coronavirus confirmed cases rises to seven.
President Hage Geingob announced the border closures Tuesday at State House in Windhoek during a media briefing.
Geingob also announced that Cabinet had decided to put Khomas and Erongo regions under lockdown in addition to closing the eight borders – Oshikango, Katwitwi, Wenela, Buitepos, Ariamsvlei, Noordoewer, Luderitz and Walvis Bay.
The lockdown is for 21 days from Friday 27 March until 16 April 2020.
Below are measures taken:
1. The travel ban is extended to all countries around the World for a period of thirty (30) days and applies to all
Namibians and permanent residents.
2. Special circumstances for the admission of certain persons into Namibia will be considered and approved by the relevant institutions, depending on the nature of travel to be undertaken, and the criticality of such mission to the national interest and safety and security of the Republic of Namibia.
3. All returning Namibians and Permanent residents and Permanent residents arriving from high-risk countries are subjected to mandatory supervised quarantine for 14 days, at own cost.
4. Special dispensation applies to business, commerce and trade missions and activities only from neighbouring
countries, on a reciprocal basis, to facilitate the flow of supplies, goods, commodities and services into Namibia.
5. Admission of persons into Namibia from neighbouring countries for reasons contemplated in (3) above, will be
considered taking into account the criticality of such mission to the national interest and safety and security of the Republic of Namibia.
6. All Government employees, as well as those in the State-Owned Enterprises and Private sector, are to operate from home for the next 14 days, except those providing critical services. The categories of affected services will be announced in the next – Days.
7. The Public is urged to remain at home and avoid public gatherings at places such as bars, Shebeens, nightclubs
and markets. The law enforcement organs to enforce these measures.
8. Internal travel restrictions will apply with respect to the Khomas and Erongo region, for a period of 21 days starting on Friday, 27th March 2020 and ending Thursday, the 16th April 2020.
9. The following ports entry are closed for passengers (Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security)
• Walvis Bay
10. Parliament is suspended for 21 days starting Wednesday, the 25th March 2020 to Thursday, the 14
11. Private health service providers must inform the Ministry of Health and Social Services immediately
upon identifying a suspected case.
12. Further measures will be announced as the situation dictates.
Below is Geingob’s full speech:
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, COVID-19 is a global health pandemic. It has reached Namibia and is within our midst. The number of confirmed cases in Namibia are rising and as at today, stand at six (6).
As emphasized in my statement the Health of Namibians is the first priority. It is why on March 17, 2020, the Government declared the State of Emergency and responded with urgent and aggressive measures to contain the spread of the novel Corona Virus into our communities.
Today Cabinet met and received briefings on the status of COVID-19 in Namibia and deliberated on the next necessary measures to strengthen detection, testing, quarantine, isolation and contact tracing, to mitigate further spread of this deadly Virus.
COVID-19 is not only a threat to the lives of the Namibian People and the public health system, but it also bears negative economic impacts threatening the survival of businesses and consequently jobs and livelihoods. Our key priority is therefore to curb the spread of disease.
The Government fully understands that these are extraordinary measures. They are adopted with the sole purpose of protecting the health, security and safety of the Namibian people. During this difficult period, I call on all Namibians to cooperate with the authorities and to remain calm, in order to ensure that public order is not compromised. Allow the authorities to work unhindered.
I now call upon the Minister of Health and Finance to make a brief intervention.
In closing, While the pandemic that we are faced with today is unprecedented, we are confident that working
collaboratively, we will respond effectively to minimize the spread of the virus and loss of life and restore the health of those affected.
I appeal to all International Cooperating Partners and stakeholders and to our Private Sector to support
Government’s response measures and mobilize resources to combat the further spread of this virus.