Delta presence won’t change approach – Ministry

Andrew Kathindi

The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) says it will not change its approach in pooling for resources despite confirming the presence of the Delta variant in Namibia.

“Whether it’s the Delta variant, Beta variant or some other variant. They spread in the same manner. It’s a question of wearing your mask and sanitising your hands. We are being told that this variant is more transmissible. It just means that people need to comply with the regulations,” MoHSS Executive Director, Ben Nangombe, told Windhoek Observer.

He further informs the ministry has set up a field hospital bringing in more oxygen, which has been part of its ongoing efforts and will monitor the situation as they go along.

“The Delta variant is here. We can see its impact. More people are dying on a daily basis. It just means, if there was anyone who was not taking this thing serious, this is about time. Fighting the transmission of COVID-19 is fighting the transmission of COVID-19 regardless of the variant. We are not starting to fight COVID-19 now, we have been doing it all along.”

The ministry has announced the presence of the Delta variant after more than two months of suspicions of its presence in the country. The Delta variant, which was first discovered in India, has been deemed as the main cause of Namibia’s third wave in which the country, on average, records around 1500 cases a day. The Delta variant has also seen to the spike in COVID-19 deaths.

It has been detected in 98 countries in the world and has become the dominant variant in many of those countries.

“The Delta SARS-CoV-2 VOC B.1.617.2 (the Delta variant) was detected in 17 out of 18 samples analysed. Samples were obtained from positive COVID-19 cases from the Khomas region. This is the first report of the detection of the Delta variant in Namibia,” a statement by Nangombe states.

VOC is the designation of the initial assessment of a newly emerged variant of a virus. According to the ministry, the latest genome sequencing exercise covers the months of May and June 2021.

The latest results, however, were only taken from Khomas with the country still in the blind about just how prevalent the virus is in the rest of the country. But indications are that the variant is now the dominant one in the country. The ministry has not, as yet, taken samples from other regions for genome sequence to determine the spread of the Delta variant.

“More genomic sequencing activities will be carried out in the coming weeks to determine the extent to which the Delta variant may be present in the rest of the country,” Nangombe said.

On Monday, 1 384 new cases on COVID-19 from 2 840 results were recorded, representing 49% positivity ratio. The country has to date recorded 97 087 cases and 1662 deaths.

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