Covid-19: State hospitals suspend visits

State hospitals have suspended visiting hours to protect patients as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.

23 December 2020 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



Visiting hours at all state hospitals have been suspended until further notice because of the rise in Covid-19 cases.

This was confirmed yesterday by the health ministry's executive director, Ben Nangombe, who repeated that “Covid is not a joke.”

Nangombe said the biggest concern is that people are not adhering to regulations and thereby putting vulnerable people at risk.

“How do we allow visitation under circumstances such as this? We do this to protect not only the patients but the visitors as well,” he said.

The Windhoek State Hospital's medical superintendent, Dr Farid Zam, confirmed that this drastic measure is already in place and is aimed at protecting vulnerable patients from infection.

Namibia on Monday recorded 585 cases - the highest daily number of cases since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Zam said it is very difficult to control visitors once they have entered the wards.

“Our patients are very weak. Some of them have cancer; some of them have compromised immune systems, you understand, so we are trying to protect the patients,” he said.

He added that visitors have the option to engage with the hospital's customer care department if they have serious matters.

The medical superintendent of the Katutura State Hospital, Dr Mwadina Shigwedha, yesterday said they really want to avoid cross-infection at all costs. Until recently, the Katutura State Hospital allowed only one visitor per patient to limit Covid-19 infections. They have now abolished morning and evening visiting hours and only allow visitors between 15:00 and 16:00 daily.

“You know there is a high number of Covid-19 cases now and the numbers are increasing. We are doing this to avoid cross-infection,” Shigwedha said.



Worrying

The health minister, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, said he was very worried about the increasing Covid-19 cases and commended Dr Zam's decision as a noble effort to protect patients.

“It is worrying for the fact that we have seen the number decreasing and relaxed some stringent measures. We now see the number increasing. This unprecedent situation calls for change in our mindset towards the Covid-19 pandemic as we are still observing non-adherence to regulations,” said Shangula.

On Monday, the minster announced that Namibia's active coronavirus cases stood at 3 075, of whom 164 were hospitalised and 30 were in intensive care units.

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