45 days with corona in Namibia: A bird’s eye view

30 April 2020 | Health

Dani Booysen

While Namibia is eagerly awaiting an announcement how the current lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic will be phase out, we take a look today at medical data telling the story of the month and a half since the coronavirus was detected locally.

Dr. Esther Muinjangue, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, this week ascribed Namibia’s success thusfar to the quick announcing of a state of emergency and the closing of borders and imposing travel restrictions in parts of the country shortly thereafter.

According to the health minister, dr. Kalumbi Shangula facts show Namibia was able to prevent large-scale spread of Covid-19.

A few anamolies still show in official data, but the big picture is one of reasonable quick follow-up of contacts and quarantining of people returning to the country. In cases test results was however delayed for several days, some times because of inconclusive results, and not all positive cases were isolated immediately.

Increased testing remains a challenge. However, in the last seven days up to Monday 27 April 2020 on average more than 30 tests were completed daily. The average since 15 April is however only 16. The pace of testing has to increase threefold to reach the target of 100 tests per day. Decentralising testing to the regions is required for this.

The 61 tests completed on Monday was the highest number yet, but seemingly include Sunday, when no new test results were reported.

With no new positive cases reported, targeted groups are being tested in stead of following up contacts in the true sense of the word.

Samples tested include 80 retests. Positive persons have to retest negative twice to be released from isolation.

Initial shortages of testing materials and personal protective equipment was reported, but a big consignment from China has assisted a lot in this regard.

It is unknown whether a survey of oxygen facilities at isolation centres has been completed.

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