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Those talking about mass testing don’t know what they’re talking about: Shangula

Health minister, Kalumbi Shangula has shot back at calls for the mass testing of people in the Erongo region by saying that those talking about mass-testing in the region “do not know what they are talking about”.

“When you are in a pandemic, you choose the most appropriate strategy in terms of the objectives which we want to achieve. I know people talk about mass testing but I don’t think they all understand what they are talking when they talk about mass testing,” said the minister.

He says the strategy is targeted, expanded testing.

He said this means that the NIP will be testing people who are in hot-spots, adding that, “But that’s not mass-testing. It’s not called mass-testing”.

The rationale behind decentralizing the function of testing to the Kharas region when Erongo is battling Covid cases is one that has been subjected to questions.

“As I have mentioned in the past that we intend to decentralize the testing to different places. Khas just happens to be one of those who are ready. But the other places which we are looking at which will come into operation soon are Katima Mulilo, Oshakati, Gobabis, Rundu, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. So those are still on the way coming. It does not mean that when we decentralize to others then we are not going to decentralize to others,” he said.

In the meantime, Shangula has said that a 44-year old Malawian who came to Namibia by road and tested positive had come in for some essential services.

The Chinese province of Wuhan has a population of 11 million people, and they were al tested under a mass-testing campaign.

This is part of an ambitious national plan to restore public confidence and get the country’s economy restarted.

According to a report by Voice of America, “They ended up reporting 206 cases of active COVID-19 infections, all of which were classified as asymptomatic. Over the course of the outbreak, the city has so far reported over 50,000 confirmed cases.

Why did the city test everyone if so, few people are positive? Analysts say that the campaign appears to be aimed more at reassuring the public than addressing public health. Wuhan is the city where the virus first emerged in late December.


Julia Heita

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