Namibia placed under national curfew the country opens borders to tourists

Andrew Kathindi

President Hage Geingob has extended stage 3 lockdown measures currently in place across the country’s 14 regions for an additional period of 14 days.

The President has also extended the curfew, which was introduced on 13 August and currently being enforced in Erongo and Khomas regions, between 8PM and 5AM daily, to all 14 regions across the country.

This comes as Geingob announced that Namibia has recorded five more COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the national death toll to 65.

Namibia currently has the highest rate of new infections per population on the continent, and there are now confirmed cases in the majority of the 34-health districts, with exception of Andara, Aranos and Nyangana. As it stands, the country has 6,712 confirmed cases.

“In light of the unfolding situation in the country, Cabinet met this week to assess and determine the next measures in our national response, based on key indicators and data. After extensive consultation with stakeholders and experts, it has been resolved that the current dispensation of STAGE 3 Regulations be extended across all 14 regions of the country for an additional 14 days,” said President Geingob.

The extension will come into effect on 29 August 2020 until midnight 12 September 2020 and public gatherings continue to be limited to 10 people countrywide.

Travel restrictions between Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis have been lifted, while restrictions imposed for the Khomas region remain.

The President also announced that Remdesivir, considered one of the most effective drugs in the world when it comes to treating COVID-19, arrived in Namibia on Monday.

Meanwhile the President announced that the tourism revival initiative, which was scheduled to begin on 1 September, will continue unhindered despite the nationwide curfew. He did not mention how tourists arriving on later flights after or near the curfew can move around or how they can move out of Windhoek to get to the first places on their itinerary. They are supposed to stay at their first destination for seven days.

“The Hosea Kutako International Airport will open from 1 September 2020, for the International Tourism Revival Initiative, as per modalities communicated this week by the Minister of Environment, Tourism and Forestry.”

Grades 10, 11 and 12 are to continue with face-to-face instruction, countrywide, including Windhoek. Meanwhile, early childhood to grade 9 learners, who were scheduled to start schooling on 1 September are to begin on 7 September.

Education Minister Anna Nghipondoka stated this is “to give breathing space for the schools. To ensure by the time the learners arrive at schools, everything is in order.”

Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula also confirmed that the local COVID-19 testing capacity has increased.

This comes as Windhoek Observer previously reported that long queues were amassing at Robert Mugabe clinic, which was the only designated point for collecting samples.

“The Ministry has noted with concern, sporadic congestion at the Robert Mugabe Avenue Clinic, which is dedicated as COVID-19 screening facility. In this regard, the Ministry has implemented measures to decongest the facility, by establishing additional four points around Windhoek where samples for COVID-19 testing can be collected,” said Shangula.

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