Andrew Kathindi

Center for Disease Control (CDC) has warned that Namibia could see higher COVID-19 infection rates after the holiday period due to travel and lack of caution.

This comes as the country recorded a record 434 cases of COVID-19 today, the highest in a single day since the virus began to spread in the country in March earlier this year. This occurred a mere two days after the country had its previous record of 363 on 16 December.

“It could be worse after the holidays because people are leaving Windhoek, which is the hotspot, and that means that other parts of the country could be at risk. This is particularly a problem if people are not wearing masks in the villages or adhering to social distancing,” CDC Country Director Country Dr Eric Dzuiban told Windhoek Observer.

“If we don’t apply caution, we could definitely see higher numbers after the holidays.”

Many Windhoek residents are currently traveling to various parts of the country, as is the holiday custom.

Dr Dzuiban said that while the numbers of infections in Windhoek have been alarming, the collective number in the rest of the country has also been a worry.

Of the 434 cases recorded today, 18 December, Khomas region alone contributed 62 percent to the total confirmed.

Walvis Bay recorded 12, Swakopmund 25, Luderitz 20, Oshakati 19 and Okahandja 23.

The country is currently experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 which is currently worse than the first wave, which Dr Dzuiban has said is not surprising.

“We’ve seen this in other countries. When the virus started, it had nothing to work with. It was only concentrated in one area, which was Walvis Bay. But since it has spread out, the second wave is bigger because it didn’t have a single point to spread from.”

The CDC Director also said that the cases are spreading much higher during the second wave due to there being no restrictions and travel is not limited.

This comes as President Hage Geingob, in his 21st COVID-19 public briefing warned that he could bring back the State of Emergency, as soon as next week, if cases continue to rise.

“If you misbehave, I may even next week come back and declare a State of Emergency. That power I have. I am warning you. So, don’t guess when I call a meeting, ‘is he going to declare it?’ When I see there is a problem, I will declare it, just like that. It’s for our own safety,” said Geingob.

The country also recoded a further five deaths.

“This situation calls for a complete mind shift towards Covid-19. Unfortunately, we still do not see a corresponding level of commitment towards control of the pandemic. We continue urging all citizens to adhere to the COVID-19 prevention measures,” said Geingob.

The country has to date recorded 18,041 cumulative confirmed cases and 169 deaths.