Walvis, Swakop ‘escapees’ sent back

13 August 2020 | Health

LEANDREA LOUW

WALVIS BAY

Members of the security cluster in the Erongo Region have sent back 30 residents who tried to use backroad “escape routes” out of the stage three lockdown towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.

About 540 officers are deployed across the region, manning posts from Walvis Bay to Uis. These officers conduct patrols and roadblocks and coordinate activities with various stakeholders.

Policing measures have also been beefed up, with the commander of community affairs, Inspector Illeni Shapumba, saying that roadblocks at so-called “escape routes” out of Walvis Bay have been in operation since the initial lockdown was enforced at the harbour town.

Back roads

“More than 30 people have been sent back trying to use the back routes out of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.”

Shapumba added that the deputy minister of safety and security, Daniel Kashikola, wanted to see how the security cluster operates in the region and was taken on a visit to various roadblocks. He was accompanied by the regional police commander and the commandant of the Namibian Marine Corps to assess the roadblocks and those set up at the “escape routes”.

“The minister suggested that we liaise with our colleagues in Windhoek to set up another roadblock at Windhoek’s entrance,” Shapumba said.

He added that in the past weeks 122 travel permits have been issued in Walvis Bay pertaining to medical (21), essential (12), funerals (5), schools (33), critical services (16) and reasons considered sufficient (35). For Swakopmund, 95 permits were issued and five for Arandis. Two South African nationals were repatriated via Walvis Bay International Airport.

Security cluster cases

Sixty-two Covid-19 cases have been reported among members of the Namibia Defence Force, the police, the Correctional Service and immigration service in Erongo. This number includes healthcare workers based on statistics of 4 August 2020.

Forty-seven officers are in isolation, six have recovered, 46 are in mandatory quarantine, 63 are in self-quarantine and 21 officers have been cleared for duty.

“Two cases were registered of people who failed to wear their masks while in a public place. A case was also registered of someone selling liquor after the stipulated trading hours,” said the regional police commander, Commissioner Andreas Nelumbu.

Setbacks

He said despite satisfactory progress observed, operations during the pandemic have been faced with various setbacks.

“There is a lack of funds to sustain the operations and delays in obtaining Covid-19 test results. We are also facing continuous public unrest. The way forward would be to avail operational funds, improve testing processes for frontline workers and the urgent implementation of the proposed plan.”

This proposed plan was announced a while back by Lieutenant-Colonel Aktofel Kwedhi and involves dividing the region into smaller blocks for better incident management.

The plan also proposes speeding up decongestion, which involves moving residents from overcrowded areas to places within restricted areas in a bid to reduce infections.

Nelumbu announced that the security cluster would precede the fire brigade in case of a fire to prevent incidents like those that occurred at Twaloloka and the DRC informal settlement at Swakopmund.

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