Covid: Third wave not over

02 August 2021 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES



WINDHOEK

While new cases have slowed down, authorities have cautioned Namibians not to let their guard down in the face of the devastating third wave of Covid-19, which has seen more than 3 000 deaths recorded.

Travel restrictions have been lifted, while the cap on public gatherings has been increased from 10 to 50 people, but a curfew remains in place from 22:00 until 04:00.

During a Covid-19 update on Friday, President Hage Geingob cautioned that Namibia is not out of the woods yet, and reminded Namibians that the virus has cost the nation too much in precious lives, businesses and sources of livelihood, and called upon Namibians to adopt new ways of interaction.

“We cannot throw caution to the wind or abandon the health and safety protocols which have been designed for our protection. That will be disastrous for our country. Let us not grow weary of doing what is right: Social and physical distancing, the wearing of face masks, safe hand hygiene and vaccination are the best and proven methods to defeat Covid-19. “We must, therefore, continue to marshal our resolve and resources towards total suppression of this virus in order to move towards a semblance of normalcy. We witnessed a few weeks ago in some parts of Europe soccer and tennis stadia filled to capacity, with persons not even wearing face masks. That is confirmation that returning to a measure of normalcy is within reach if we succeed with our vaccination campaign,” he said.

Bigger picture

The president’s sentiments were echoed by Dr Matshidiso Moeti of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa Region, who last week said the third wave is not over yet, and encouraged all Africans to double efforts and prevention measures.

“Be under no illusions, Africa’s third wave is absolutely not over. This small step forward offers hope and inspiration, but must not mask the big picture for Africa. Many countries are still at peak rise and Africa’s third wave surged faster and higher than ever before,” she said.

Geingob emphasised that vaccination remains an important weapon in Namibia’s arsenal to combat the spread of the virus, and urged people to avoid scepticism to curtain government’s efforts.

“I am aware of what has been called an ‘infodemic’ of misinformation in the form of campaigns to deliberately propagate false information about Covid-19 vaccines. Let us not be swayed by those who aim to capitalise on unfounded fears and dissuade our people from getting vaccinated. We must act wisely, act responsibly, act selflessly and act now,” the president said.

Other regulations

On Friday, he further announced that restrictions on alcohol remain, which can only be sold on a take-away basis between Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 18h00, except for at hospitality establishments with guests.

All food establishments can resume on-site meals subject to compliance to health and safety protocols, while businesses deemed to be high-risk such as gyms and sports clubs remain closed.

Equally, spas, salons and beauty parlours remain open and indoor/outdoor swimming pools and playgrounds may resume operations, while burials due to Covid-19 must take place within 10 days and all the current burial regulations remain in force.

Test results upon entry into the country are mandatory with a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) validity of 72 hours.

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