President Hage Geingob said although Namibia is managing the coronavirus, the country has not defeated the virus yet and is vulnerable.
Geingob said this during a press conference Monday at State House in Windhoek where he announced an extension of the lockdown on Walvis Bay Local Authority Area and pulled the whole Erongo region back to stage 1.
Erongo Region has eight cases so far, with one case involving a hospital worker who does not have a history of travel.
Namibia had enjoyed weeks of quiet when the cases had been stuck at 16 until two weeks ago when there was a steady increase.
The highest number of positive cases was reported on Saturday by health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula who told the nation that there were four new cases. On Monday, Dr Shangula also announced two more positive cases, thereby bringing the number to 31.
Geingob said observation regarding the current lockdown in the Walvis Bay Local Authority Area shows that some members of the public are not adhering to lockdown measures.
Therefore, the president further said, the potential for community spread and the risk level for Walvis Bay and surrounding towns, is high and this necessitates more stringent measures to curb the spread beyond Walvis Bay.
“For these reasons, I hereby inform the nation that STAGE 1 restrictions will be extended to the entire Erongo Region, for a period of 14 days, effective from midnight tonight, 8 June 2020 until midnight 22 June 2020.
“This time will be utilised to conduct expansive testing in the area surrounding the known cases. The health ministry will also expand the search for contacts to secondary contacts. We are working to avoid imposing national lockdowns, by effecting prompt and targeted, localized interventions,” he explained.
Erongo problematic cases
A few weeks ago, a truck driver, who is case 22, hogged the limelight when it was reported that he sneaked out of the truck port where he was supposed to be in quarantine.
The truck driver denied to Eagle FM that he had sneaked out but that he and a friend went jogging and did not meet any community members.
The driver has since been dismissed from work even though the company had sent him to Standard Bank before his results came back positive.
Geingob said that 59 people who made contact with the truck driver have been identified so far and that the tracing of contacts was initiated and is ongoing.
“It is a meticulous process to ensure that no contact is left unidentified and untraced,” Geingob said.
Another case that raised fears is that of a fish trader – case 22 – who sails the Namibia-DRC route and is currently admitted into the ICU of a private hospital at Walvis Bay.
“He has had contact with various members of the community. This poses a possibility of the
transmission of the virus to others. Contact tracing has also commenced and is ongoing,” Geingob said.
A third case involves the man – case 26 – who works at Welwitchia Private Hospital’s finance department. This is the hospital where case 22 is admitted and went for treatment. In the case of case 26, Geingob said 15 contacts have been traced so far.
The president added that if not handled correctly, this could increase possibilities for community
transmission of the virus.