Govt undecided on COVID-19 measures as new cases spike

Helena Johannes

Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula says that he is not sure if the government plans to tighten existing COVID-19 protective measures amid a recent spike in new cases.

Shangula as minister of health, is empowered under Section 29 of the Public and Environmental Act to implement regulations. This authority has been operational since 18 September 2020.

Despite the onus on amending the existing regulations being vested in his office, Shangula maintains, “it is the job of the President to announce that.”

This comes as President Hage Geingob recently called off a briefing on the national response measures relating to the Covid-19 pandemic he was supposed to address on 16 November 2020.

“We don’t have an alarming rise in cases in the community, which clearly shows that the current measures are working,” said Shangula.

This comes as panic reactions have hit social media after the country recorded over a hundred new cases on 26 November 2020, a day after regional elections were held.

Of the new cases recorded, nearly 80 of them are learners and school staffs. A cluster of cases has also been recorded in the fishing industry.

On the 27 November, Shangula announced that the country has recorded 52 cases of Covid-19 with the Lüderitz district leading with 25 cases.

Of the 25 cases in this cluster, seven are learners and five are staff members from Diaz Primary School. Surprisingly, nine of the recorded cases are from the fishing industry bringing the number of confirmed cases in the fishing industry to ten in just two days.

“The ministry is sending reinforcement of health care workers to Lüderitz to contain the situation there. We are also trying to condone these cases including the one from the fishing industry. We are making sure that nobody goes out of the school premises,” Shangula said.

He said any cases that would have emanated from non-adherence to social distancing during the voting and political campaigns for the local and regional elections will only be felt in the coming days.

Shangula previously said the increment of Covid-19 cases is worrisome as the country has for more than a month been recording less than 100 cases.

“For the past 40 days, we had been reporting less than 100 cases per day with a daily average of 40 cases. This is quite ‘worrisome’, more especially that we are approaching the festive and holiday season,” he previously said.

He said “as people will start travelling to visit their relatives in different parts of the country, the ministry continues to urge the public to adhere to Covid-19 prevention measures in order to reduce the transmission of the virus.”

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