Eba Kandovazu

HEALTH and Social Services Minister, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, has announced that 18 people have tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

Dr Shangula says the variant was detected after the genomic sequencing of samples, adding that 18 are out of total of 19 samples which were tested, with one testing positive for COVID-19 Delta variant through PCR. President Hage Geingob at the 37th COVID-19 today briefed the nation on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shangula says Government will be forced to take stringent measures on 15 December, if cases continue to rise and people are misbehaving.

Geingob particularly took issue with the unvaccinated and those defying the set regulations saying they undermine and reverse the gains made in slowing the pandemic pleading with people to take individual responsibility for the common good. “Those among us who are not respecting the health protocols in place and refusing to wear masks and practice social distancing are reversing the gains we have made in our fight against Covid-19. In other parts of the world, stringent measures are being imposed on individuals who are not vaccinated, ” he cautions.

Although the new variant is easily spread with multiple mutations and reinfection, Namibians need not panic, says the President.

“Going forward, Namibia will continue to strengthen surveillance and response, including immediate contact tracing of close contacts to contain the circulation of this new variant. It is not a time to panic – but to be vigilant as we put in place measures to deal with this new Covid-19 variant,”Geingob assures.

On the disposal of 150 000 vaccines he says this is regrettable although the vaccines had reached their expiry dates, saying those eligible refuse to get vaccinated. “Instead of throwing away vaccines, citizens who wish to go for booster jabs are encouraged to do so,” Geingob says.