SA not consideringtotal border shutdown

20 March 2020 | Disasters

OGONE TLHAGE

Windhoek

Namibia's largest trading partner, South Africa, says it is not considering a total shutdown of all its borders in response to the coronavirus, despite fears that it would implement this drastic action if infections in the neighbouring country hit 200.

It was announced yesterday that the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Africa are now at 150.

South African home affairs spokesperson Siya Qozo dismissed the allegations, saying the country had already identified and closed the borders it deemed necessary.

Namibian home affairs minister Frans Kapofi said he was unaware of any potential move by South Africa to close all its borders.

He however reiterated that the ministry will not allow Namibians to travel for leisure or other reasons, except to seek medical help outside the country.

“We have not been told about that. Travel for leisure and sport, those things don't exist anymore,” Kapofi said.

Only South Africans who are currently in Namibia will be allowed to return to their country, while Namibians in the neighbouring country are also being allowed to return home.

Other foreign nationals hoping to return to their home countries are being offered passage through South Africa, health minister Kalumbi Shangula announced earlier this week

Owners of accommodation establishments near the Ariamsvlei and Noordoewer border posts are waiting with baited breath for a way forward from government.

Sarolina Nagel, the owner of Joliens Rest Camp, said her business now depends on truck drivers using the border post.

“Our business has not really been affected too much because there are still a lot of truck drivers who use our facilities and eat here. I have however had to cancel bookings that tourists have made and the activity at the restaurant has been slow,” she said.

Nagel was confident her business would weather the storm, as long as the border remained open to truck drivers.

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