Covid regulations further relaxed as virus eases

22 October 2020 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES



WINDHOEK

The limit on public gatherings has been increased from 50 to 200 people until 30 November, while all travellers arriving in Namibia with negative Covid-19 results will no longer be required to retest within five days.

President Hage Geingob also announced that those visiting the country with a negative Covid-19 result older than 72 hours but not older than seven days will be allowed to enter, but will be required to go into mandatory seven-day supervised quarantine.

In the event that a tourism facility or home does not fulfil quarantine requirements, travellers will be placed under mandatory government quarantine facilities at own cost, the president said.

However, non-Namibians who do not present a negative Covid-19 result will not be granted entry into the country.

Geingob also announced that returning Namibian citizens or permit holders may enter the country with or without a Covid-19 results.

“In the event such persons present a positive test result or no result at all, they will be subjected to mandatory quarantine and testing or isolation after arrival. This provision shall also apply to aircraft and marine vessel crewmembers, humanitarian aid workers, essential service providers, as well as operators and drivers of cross-border transport vehicles who arrive in the country without the requisite test,” he said.

Open Sesame

Furthermore, private vehicles, public transport operators and group tour operators are now allowed to revert to the respective carrying capacities of their vehicles.

“Namibia will continue to harmonise the re-opening of borders and resumption of full economic and social activities. Borders will re-open gradually on a reciprocal basis,” he said.

Geingob also announced that contact sport and face-to-face education instruction for tertiary institutions - provided social distancing is adhered to - is now allowed.

Death rate

According to the president, the protocols for Covid-19 burials will be conducted as per the previous regulations.

“We regret the loss of 132 Namibian lives to Covid-19 or related illnesses, which represents 1% of total cases nationally. As a country, Namibia has learnt important lessons from the Covid-19 response, both during and after the state of emergency,” he said.

These lessons relate to effective case management of confirmed cases through the use of evidence-based interventions, effective harnessing of the country’s logistical capabilities and capacities, contact tracing, and risk communication and community engagement to sensitise the public.

Geingob, however, added that the implementation of measures to suppress and control the spread of the pandemic have yielded positive results.

Pleased

“We are pleased that the initial concerns that our public health facilities and the public health system, in general, could become overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases has not come to pass.

“This outcome is attributable to the hard but necessary response measures put in place by the government to combat the pandemic and, more importantly, the fact that our people have largely complied with these measures. There were others who did not comply,” he said.

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