Namibia's corona testing ratio among the highest

03 August 2020 | Health

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



With slightly more than 27 000 coronavirus tests having been conducted in Namibia, the testing ratio of 10.1 per 1 000 people is among the highest in the world.

This is according to President Hage Geingob, who announced on Friday that the Erongo Region will remain under Stage 3 and the rest of the country under Stage 4 of the Covid-19 state of emergency.

He said Namibia's rate of daily new cases had risen to the fourth highest on the continent following South Africa, Eswatini and Gabon. “The pandemic is changing rapidly in our country. It took four months to record 1 000 cases. However, it has taken only 14 days to record 2 000 cases in the country, of which over 95% are all from Walvis Bay.”

He added that of the 11 fatalities, 10 were from Walvis Bay and one from Windhoek. “There are now confirmed cases in 12 regions across the country, with the exception of the Kavango West and Omaheke.”



Community transmission

Geingob said while community transmission was confirmed in Walvis Bay in mid-June, there has been a steady increase in the number of cases in Windhoek and community transmission is now suspected in both the Khomas and //Karas regions.

He said a total of 27 785 tests had been conducted. “Although we have made a considerable improvement in clearing the testing backlog, we continue to experience delays in testing and disclosure of results, owing to the large volumes of samples,” he said. In order to increase the national testing capacity that currently stands at an average of 1 150 tests per day, the government has expanded laboratory capacity in Windhoek, Keetmanshoop and Oranjemund. This week new laboratories will be commissioned in Walvis Bay and Oshakati.

Cabinet has approved the recruitment of more health professionals to strengthen the national response. Some development cooperation partners have also seconded health workers and experts to support the response.



Revised regulations

The Stage 3 lockdown in Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis has been extended to 31 August.

The other regions will remain under Stage 4, with revised measures to curb the spread of the virus.

The maximum number of people at public gatherings has been reduced from 250 to 100, while the sale of alcohol will remain legal for consumption in private dwellings, shebeens and bars. For restaurants and hotels, onsite consumption of alcohol is permitted under Stage 4. Contact sports are permitted but no spectators are allowed, while unregistered sports activities that draw crowds must be discouraged.

Geingob added that people must always wear masks in public spaces, maintain social distancing, and avoid crowded public gatherings and unnecessary travel. The revised measures under Stage 4 come into effect at midnight tonight and will run until 17 September.

Face-to-face teaching up to grade nine has been suspended across the country for 28 days from 4 August. Grades 10, 11 and 12 will be permitted to continue with face-to-face instruction.

At tertiary institutions where ICT infrastructure is adequate to enable online teaching, learning will continue remotely. Vocational education training providers will be able to continue with face-to-face education.

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