Andrew Kathindi

President Hage Geingob has restricted the exit and entry into Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth local authority areas amidst an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, in which Khomas has accounted for 52 percent thereof.

The ban comes as on Tuesday evening 15 June, Namibia recorded 1206 new cases of COVID-19, of which Windhoek reported 359 cases, Okahandja 1 and Rehoboth 47. Travel into and out of these local authority areas have been banned with the exception for returning residents, essential service providers in possession of the relevant permit, emergency medical cases and the transportation of human remains to other regions for burial purposes.

The President further expressed disappointment over disregard for COVID-19 regulations. “I am dismayed by recent revelations of Namibians who blatantly disregard regulations. The videos of our young people seen partying and flouting the Public Health and Safety Protocols are disappointing. Such wanton recklessness, selfishness and irresponsibility at a time that our country is warding off the peak of the pandemic, should not be allowed to continue.”

“I wish to inform those organising and engaging in such activities, that there will be consequences, as provided for in our laws and regulations.”

The ban is set to run for 14 days until 30 June and replaces the previous measures, which were meant to end on 30 June.

Along with the ban from entry and exit into Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth, public gatherings have been reduced to ten for in door events and may not last longer than two hours.

Face-to-Face teaching and learning for Primary, Secondary schools and Higher Education Institutions, including Technical Education Providers, in Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth has also been suspended effective 17 June to 30 June. “However, for the rest of the country, the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture will announce a ‘Winter Holiday’, with exception for Grades 10, 11 and A-Levels, who need to continue Face-to-Face learning in preparation for external examinations.”

Contact sport has also been restricted.

This is now the second time that travel in and out of Windhoek has been restricted since the pandemic started after similar measures were put in place last August after the capital city surpassed Walvis Bay in reported cases and became the new epicentre for the spread of the virus.

The new regulations come as President of the official opposition Popular Democratic Movement (PDM),McHenry Venaani, had urged the President to announce a lockdown in the country.

The country on Wednesday reported 32 COVID-19 deaths, the highest number of deaths reported in a day since the pandemic started to spread in the country. The country recorded over 11 000 COVID-19 cases since 1 June.

Meanwhile Landless People’s Movement (LPM) has called for Government to introduce a stimulus package for people financially affected by the lockdowns. “There has been little response to the plight of households that came out economically scared in the 2020 lockdowns. Yet, the increasing call for the introduction of meaningful mitigation stimulus such as the Basic Income Grant (BIG) of between N$500 to N$750 per poverty-stricken household continue to fall on deaf ears of both Treasury and the SWAPO led Cabinet. Equally, the Harambee Food distribution program failed to reach the intended beneficiaries,” a statement released by LPM Acting National Spokesperson, Eneas Emvula, stated.

In 2020 Government spent N$562 million on an Emergency Income Grant (EIG) for a once-off N$750 cash payment in which, according to the Ministry of Finance, around 765,452 beneficiaries received payment. Thus far, Namibia has recorded 67 021 cases of COVID-19 and 1040 deaths.