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By: Dwight Links

Health minister Kalumbi Shangula says that many Namibians may have missed the message that the ministry will be issuing digital vaccination certificates required for travel.

The health ministry announced this on 26 April. The digital vaccine certificate is a requirement to enter South Africa, which no longer accepts vaccination cards, however, since then, Namibians continue to get stuck at the O.R. Tambo airport due to failure to provide a digital vaccination certificate.

“It seems that not many people got that message then,” Shangula said while responding to questions during the 44th Covid-19 briefing.

 He added that a Namibian going out of the country would be required to produce a negative PCR test result or the vaccination certificate, which is digital.

 Linking back to the well-publicised events of what happened at the O.R. Tambo airport in Johannesburg, the health minister indicated that the ministry found out that those travellers that were held up were those that did not obtain the digital certificate.

 “Even this morning, I received an enquiry of how can someone authenticate their vaccination certificate. We made this available to the public in order for them to generate their own certificates,” Shangula added.

The minister said that the function is solely up to the public and at their disposal anytime. He said it is for those vaccinated to generate the certificates whenever the need for travelling arises.

“You feed in the information that is on your vaccination card, and this is authenticated by our [ministry] contact centre, and then it is produced on your device.”

The health minister pleaded for Namibians to not only rush for the certificates when travelling but rather to obtain it even though the need to travel is not there.

Quizzed on whether the slow growth of the tourism industry can be linked to the slow adoption of digital functions like digital certificates, Shangula said no.

“I do not think there can be a link because visitors coming to us would have to adhere to their own countries’ pandemic protocols, and we have our own that they have to meet in order to be allowed in,” Shangula said.

The minister said that other countries have already adopted this digital certificate platform and that travellers from those nations have already been exposed to such advancements.

 He said there might be some other reason for the sluggish growth.

The latest travel requirements also see minor changes for visitors to Namibia. Children who are more than five years and less than 12 years and those not fully vaccinated must present a negative PCR result of fewer than 72 hours.

 Children fully vaccinated should present proof of vaccination status.

Shangula added that children from countries that are not vaccinated should present a negative PCR result at the ports of entry.

“Health officials are strongly advised to avoid separating children from parents in the event the accompanying child or children have not met the Port of Entry requirements,” he added.

At the 44th Covid briefing, President Geingob indicated that the next observation period would span from 16 June to 15 July.

Geingob urged the public to continue wearing masks, especially in indoor settings.

Gatherings remain unchanged, with the maximum allowable amount of people still at 1000 persons per event.

 The President indicated that the current infection numbers were found in schools and said that the measures for education are maintained as is.

 “A number of many positive cases were recorded among learners and teachers. Therefore, educational institutions are urged to remain vigilant by enforcing public health and social measures,” President Geingob said.

 Burials of people who were Covid positive remain unchanged as well, with the President adding that the Infection Prevention and Control Pillar will meet with the justice ministry and the Attorney General’s office to agree on less cumbersome processes for the exhumation of bodies.

“Details about a new process for exhumation will be communicated by the government following finalisation of all the outstanding matters with regard to exhumation procedures,” Geingob added.




Julia Heita

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