Tujoromajo Kasuto

Covid-19 vaccination coverage is showing signs of progress, especially in the regions that have borne the brunt of the pandemic historically, such as Hardap, //Kharas, Khomas, and Erongo.

However within the last month there has been a decline in the number of vaccines administered daily, says President Hage Geingob addressing the nation and the media during the 35th Covid-19 public briefing today. “During this period, the country recorded an average vaccine uptake of 2,871 doses per day, this figure has declined compared to the daily uptake a month ago thus there is a need to do more on this regard and get more people vaccinated,” states the President.

Nationally, vaccination coverage currently stands at 19.5 percent of the total population for those who have received their 1st dose, while 15 percent of the population, today, is fully vaccinated. The President rejoices that the country has, “stemmed the tide of despair and can see Geingob says we should not take this respite for granted.on the horizon the hope of a return to normalcy. I commend all of you, the Namibian people, for your compliance and cooperation, to this end.”

Meanwhile, information and data gathered by the National Covid-19 Dashboard Monitoring Cluster from 16 September to 14 October, indicates that Namibia has been observing a marked decline in the number of new confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths, across the entire country.

The declining number of cases is attributable to a number of factors, particularly public compliance to the Covid-19 Public Health Regulations. “It takes active steps to bring about a reduction in the numbers and it will require active steps to ensure that the trend is maintained,” says the Presient.

The current Covid-19 Public Health Regulations will expire at midnight tonight.

The following Regulations will come into force for thirty (30) days from tomorrow, Saturday, 16 October until midnight, Monday, 15 November.

Numbers of people at public gatherings have been adjusted to 200 people an event, including spectators at sporting events. Attendance registers are no longer required at such public events. However, public health measures must be adhered to.

The curfew has been suspended, which according to Geingob allows for greater economic activity, particularly with respect to long haul public transport operators and the entertainment industry. In terms of business operations, all recreational places such as nightclubs, casinos, gambling houses, betting houses and gyms may continue operations as is – allowing patrons up to half capacity, while restrictions related to liquor remain as is.

Burials of persons who succumbing to Covid-19 or whose deaths are related, will continue to take place with8inten days, with on-site consumption of meals at all gatherings, including burials, now permitted. The restriction on the number of persons attending burials of 200, applies to mourners only, excluding essential workers.

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Kalumbi Shangula states that the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme continues to make progress. However, the uptake falls short of the projected targets, in terms of where the ministry wants to be. While the country target is to vaccinate 750 000 of the 1 501 041 persons targeted for vaccination by 13 October, only 288 692 (19.2%) persons have so far received the first dose of vaccination and 213 294 persons or 14 2% are fully vaccinated.

However, Shangula says that if we take the total population of Namibia and not only the vaccination eligible population as the denominator, 7.7% of the population is fully vaccinated. Regionally, as at 13 October in addition, South Africa has fully vaccinated 16.51% of the population, while Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia have vaccinated 16.3%, 10.4%, 1.6% respectively.

With sufficient doses of vaccines available in the country, all regional health directorates are also preparing to launch intensified vaccination campaigns in their respective regions to offer vaccination to those who are not yet vaccinated.

In addition, Covid-19 vaccination is now available at Anti-retroviral Clinic, workplaces, old age homes, social pension payout points, shopping malls and other places in addition to established vaccination sites. These strategies are yielding positive outcomes in terms of increased uptake for at risk populations albeit Shangula.