Former health minister Bernard Haufiku has urged for calm as South Africa reports its first case of the deadly coronavirus.
Below is his full comment:
SA is better equipped. They are particularly equipped with diagnostic tools to detect the virus early on. I am just not too sure whether their public health facilities are ready to deal with a possible epidemic of Coronavirus.
Avoiding panicking is perhaps among the first and most important steps Namibia must take.
And when I say Namibia, I literally mean everyone in Namibia without exception.
The second thing I would advise for is the weekly rehearsal/simulation test by the response team under the stewardship of the Ministry of Health and Social Services. We must have our team battle-ready because the battle lines have been drawn and Namibia as a potential target, is now within reach of Coronavirus.
Given the movement between Namibia and SA on a daily basis, the virus will most likely be passed on to Namibia before any other country in SA but the whole region and indeed the whole continent must now elevate its risk grade upwards.
We can possibly not restrict travel at this stage. One case detected would not warrant this.
Even if a few more cases are confirmed it still wouldn’t warrant travel restrictions to and from SA at this stage. I would, however, repeat my advice against unnecessary travel to any affected region or country for the safety of individuals or families. Only travel when it is absolutely necessary! Like for medical reasons, to attend to family issues or education of your children, academic or business reasons for which you are required to be physically present. Also do not forget to take a face musk when travelling and avoiding crowded places.
Last but not least, the ministry of health need to have weekly updates on the situation as a way of assuring the public that we are doing everything in our power to effectively prevent & deal with any case of Coronavirus in Namibia.
Unless we constantly give the public correct information based on scientific evidence, the public will fill the vacuum …usually with wrong or inappropriate information.
That’s just how humans are!