Quarantined woman threatens court action

23 March 2020 | Local News

Henriette Lamprecht, Ronelle Rademeyer and Francoise Steynberg



WINDHOEK

A woman with Stage 4 breast cancer, who is among the 35 people quarantined after landing in Windhoek from Amsterdam last Saturday, says she has tasked her lawyers to apply for an urgent court application to challenge the decision to quarantine her.

Advocate Irene Visser (49) told Namibian Sun’s sister publication Republikein that she was in France for two weeks on holiday and did not know she would be required to undergo quarantining upon arrival.

"I have to get chemotherapy this week and I won't be able to get it while I'm here," she said in tears.

"There is no medical staff here with whom I can discuss my situation."

The resistance of cancer sufferers receiving chemotherapy is very low as their white blood cells that provide immunity are compromised.

Poor conditions

"What frustrates us is that the place is very dirty. Mice are everywhere and the carpets smell bad. We asked the lodge's people for detergents so we could clean ourselves, and they told us they didn't have any."

Emotions ran high on Saturday morning when families had to greet their relatives from a distance after they were placed in quarantine at the Greiters Lodge outside Windhoek, shortly after the group landed in the country.

Second group

Health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe said another KLM flight with Namibians is currently stranded in Europe and will land in Namibia this week, and these passengers will join the group at Greiters in isolation.

Parents of affected youth returning home from studies abroad had difficulties understanding the new requirements, which are part of government efforts to ensure the coronavirus does not spread in the country.

The atmosphere was tense but eventually subsided after two police officers addressed the parents who undertook to support each other as well as their children via a WhatsApp group.

The group of Namibians who returned from Amsterdam on a KLM flight on Saturday morning said they only came to learn about government’s precautionary measures when they boarded the plane for their departure from Europe.

The 35 passengers are Namibians who work and study in Germany, Scotland, Austria and the Netherlands, amongst others.

Precautionary measures

Nangombe confirmed that strict precautionary measures were adhered to when the group were visited by their relatives.

"There [were] specific distancing protocols to ensure that family members didn’t come into close, direct contact with the quarantined persons."

The passengers were transported in two municipal buses to the lodge, west of Brakwater.

One of the parents said they were only told at the airport that the group would be placed in quarantine in one venue and would not be allowed to self-quarantine at home.

Parents were also concerned that their children cannot wash their hands as some rooms at the lodge had no running water or electricity.

Some of the parents offered to buy detergents for their children to clean their living spaces, but it turned out no visits were allowed.

There were also claims that they only received a sausage and a slice of brown bread, instead of healthy food and vitamins to build their resistance.

However, it was confirmed that parents could leave parcels at the gate of the lodge, which will be delivered by police officers.

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