PM in isolation as Stage 3 returns

13 August 2020 | Health

Restriction of movement now nationwideThe Prime Minister, her deputy and the cabinet secretary are all grounded as the government swiftly moved to restrict movement amid increasing Covid-19 cases.JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEKPrime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also the deputy prime minister, have gone into self-isolation as the government activated nationwide Stage 3 Covid-19 restrictions starting today.

The pandemic, which has killed 22 people in Namibia so far, has tightened a further foothold in the top echelons of government, having already grounded cabinet secretary George Simataa.

Simataa is the highest-ranking government official to go public with Covid-19 infection.

Government yesterday maintained that neither Kuugongelwa-Amadhila nor Nandi-Ndaitwah had tested positive for the virus. Their isolation is in line with the established protocol that those who came into contact with known cases of infection must isolate.

The two government leaders work closely with Simataa, although it could not be established whether the contact in question is the cabinet secretary.

The country, which had its fair share of economic challenges prior to the coronavirus, has so far spent N$400 million on the fight against the disease, which so far has infected more than 3 300 people in Namibia.

It was also announced yesterday that over N$561 million has so far been spent on the emergency income grant, which was a one-off payment of N$750 per qualifying person on the basis of having lost income or experienced difficult circumstances during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Back to Stage 3

Yesterday President Hage Geingob announced that due to increasing infections, exacerbated by community transmissions, all 14 regions of the country will revert to, or remain on, Stage 3 of the Covid-19 state of emergency.

This became effective last night at 00:00.

The nationwide Stage 3 lockdown will remain in place for 16 days until midnight on 28 August 2020.

Like Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis, the towns of Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth have now been placed under a special dispensation with movement between the three local authorities to other parts of the country prohibited until 28 August.

A night curfew between 20:00 and 05:00 is in force in Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth during this period.

Travel into and out of these towns to the rest of the country will be restricted to emergency situations only, as defined in the regulations.

Any person leaving the restricted areas, apart from critical and essential service providers, will be quarantined at own cost upon arrival at their destination.

Food and drink

Trading hours for the sale of alcohol are 12:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday and from 09:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays. No sale of alcohol is permitted on Sundays and public holidays.

Restaurants in Windhoek, Rehoboth, Okahandja, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis are to operate under Stage 2 regulations, which means only takeaways are allowed.

Elsewhere in the country, restaurants may allow on-site consumption.

Across the country, public gatherings will be limited to 10 persons, including weddings, funerals and religious gatherings.

In terms of schools, face-to-face classes for grades 10, 11 and 12 will continue, but tertiary education institutions must stick with online teaching and learning.

“More cases have been recorded during the month of July than any previous month, and August is projected to have more cases in our country,” Geingob said yesterday.

“The last time I spoke on this matter at this platform, I stated that it took our country four months to reach 1 000 cases and then only 14 days to reach 2 000 cases. It has now taken only 11 days to reach 3 000 cases in the country.”

He urged individual citizens to take greater care of themselves and not to wait for official warnings about the necessary behaviour to avoid contracting the virus.

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