Covid numbers alarming
18 June 2021 | Health
Namibia’s third Covid-19 wave surges on, with the country recording both its highest death toll – 33 – and its highest number of cases – 2 075 – on Wednesday.
Of the fatalities, 27 were not vaccinated, one person had gotten only one vaccine dose and the vaccination status of the remaining five is unknown.
Meanwhile, the occupancy rate of the country’s intensive care units (ICUs) and Covid-19 isolation units now hovers between 67% to 100% on any given day.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, the health ministry has brought on 709 additional beds across the country for the Covid-19 response, most of which are now occupied.
With the rapid increase of advanced cases, the country now has a very high demand for personal protective equipment, oxygen and healthcare staff, as more and more nurses and doctors fall prey to Covid-19.
As a result, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula announced that they have now put a plan in motion to decongest referral hospitals by reducing the number of cold cases and elective surgical procedures for the time being.
“The cost of not acting now would be far greater. By any measure, these numbers are indeed alarming,” he said of the Covid-19 cases and deaths.
To curb the spread of the virus, government this week introduced a string of new measures. The sale of alcohol is now only allowed between 09:00 and 18:00 from Monday to Saturday, and only on a take-away basis.
Gambling houses, casinos, betting houses and night clubs have been deemed high-risk and are not permitted to operate, while kapana traders are only allowed to sell on a take-away basis.
Managers and employers are encouraged to introduce shifts to decongest workplaces and limit interaction amongst staff to reduce the infections.
Contact sport remains prohibited as well as gyms and fitness facilities, while spectators are not allowed at sporting events.
All public transport operators across the country may only load passengers to half the capacity of their vehicle in order to reduce interaction which contributes to the spread of the virus.
Individuals who have been swabbed and are suspected of being infected with Covid-19, either because they are symptomatic or have been in contact with a positive case, must remain in home-quarantine until their results are released.
Furthermore, pregnant women, the elderly and people with comorbidities who are suspected to be Covid-19 positive will be isolated at government facilities for close monitoring by health personnel until they are out of danger.
All newly confirmed cases who live with someone older than 50 or with comorbidities must be isolated at a non-health facility, while visits to old age homes must be restricted and employees at the old age homes are encouraged to be vaccinated.
The ministry is currently in consultation with the security cluster and the judiciary to explore the possibility of spot fines to be introduced under the Public Health Regulation.
Options are also being explored for sanctions to be levied on professionals registered with relevant health professional bodies, or to lay charges ethically for the spread of fake news or conspiracies against interventions by government.
Concealing of Covid-19 contacts during the contact tracing process will also constitute an offence.