President Hage Geingob said, since Walvis Bay accounts for 436 cases out of 436 reported so far, additional containment measures to slow the rate of transmission and prevent the disease from spreading beyond the three Local Authority Areas were needed.
Geingob said the introduction of these measures is done with the sole objective of containing the spread of disease within and beyond these three towns.
The evidence before us, Geingob said, reveals that Namibia is dealing with two very distinct COVID-19 situations, the one prevailing at Walvis Bay and the rest of the country. It is, therefore, necessary to apply rational and targeted interventions to respond effectively to both situations.
“With 81 per cent share of the total cases reported countrywide, it is clear that the local authority area of Walvis Bay has become the epicentre of the spread of coronavirus in our country,” Geingob said.
The president said other towns and localities where new cases have been recently confirmed include: Karasburg in the //Karas Region, Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi Region, Engela in the Ohangwena Region, Oshakati in the Oshana Region, Swakopmund in the Erongo Region and Windhoek in the Khomas Region.
He said to decongest informal settlements in the three local authority areas, the ministry of urban and rural development, together with the regional and local authorities will identify suitable venues or facilities with adequate provision of water and ablution facilities, where residents can be temporarily relocated.
“In this regard and as stated previously, I have requested the Governor to investigate the feasibility of using the unallocated Mass Houses at both Swakopmund and Walvis Bay to place people there.
“The Governor has reported that 60 Mass Houses are available at Walvis Bay and 100 at Swakopmund. We will determine how to utilize those for this purpose,” he said.
Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis will remain under lockdown during Stage 3 with effect from midnight 6th July 2020 until 3rd August 2020.
Walvis Bay has recorded most cases in the country so far and has been under lockdown together with Swakopmund and Arandis.
Shangula further said to minimise broader exposure to communities residing at the towns of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis, travel into, out of and between these three Local Authority Areas is not permitted and will be restricted only to the supply of essential and critical goods and services as defined in the regulations.
In addition, Shangula said personal contact details of all persons leaving and/or entering the restricted Local Authority Areas will be recorded in a registry, at the points of entry/exit by law enforcement personnel.
The president further said measures to protect the most vulnerable persons in categories as defined in the regulations will be strengthened, including shielding elderly persons from exposure to the general public.
He said caregivers employed in old age homes are required to self-quarantine at alternative locations and avoid contact with the general community.
According to Shangula, stricter measures are being put in place to enhance protection at correctional facilities, including restriction on visits by members of the public to such facilities.
“The cordon to restrict the movement of people into and out of the three Local Authority Areas will be reinforced as a travel ban, with exception of the movement of essential and critical goods and services, and medical emergencies.
“This means that the only permits to be issued and authorised to travel into and out of the three Local Authority
“Areas will be for these categories provided. Travel between other towns in the Erongo region and to the rest of the country will be permitted, with exception of the restricted Local Authority Areas,” Shangula said.
Isolation of positive Covid-19 cases in terms of locations, he said, must be done in ways that do not introduce or increase harm to the community. This may include alternative isolation locations, including private facilities.
“The ministry will build in a level of flexibility in the quarantine of contacts, including the locations of such quarantine facilities, in ways that do not introduce or increase harm to the community.
“This may include home-based quarantine when safe conditions for such quarantine can be established and verified against a standardised checklist,” he explained.
Shangula added that public gatherings shall remain restricted to a maximum of 10 people for the whole of Erongo Region, while schools in the restricted areas may not resume face-to-face instruction.
Learners who find themselves in the restricted areas, the health minister said, will not be permitted to travel out of that restricted area to other parts of the country, owing to the inherent risks.
“Any person leaving the Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas to any part of the country, apart from providers of critical goods and services, will be quarantined for a period of fourteen (14) days at own cost.
“Drivers of trucks and other vehicles delivering critical and essential services travelling from Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas, will be quarantined as per existing modalities applicable to the quarantine of cross border truck drivers and providers of essential goods and services,” he said.
For the next 28 days, inhabitants of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis will have to wear masks correctly when in public places, keep a distance of not less than 1.5 metres from one another, wash hands as frequently as possible, keep on sanitizing and refrain from touching the mouth, nose, eyes and face.
The sale of beer has been banned during the 28 days as stipulated under Stage 3 between 12hoo and 18h00 between Monday to Friday and from 09h00 to 13h00 on Saturday.
There will be no on-site consumption of alcohol and public transport from and into the three restricted areas is prohibited for the duration of this special dispensation.
“Measures to protect the healthcare system such as minimizing the number of people entering hospitals and carrying out vigorous screening for symptoms will continue to be enhanced,” Shangula said.