Namibia reverts to stage 3 restrictions

Andrew Kathindi

President Hage Geingob ordered that the country revert to stage 3 of the state of emergency lockdown starting Wednesday midnight 12 August, amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country, particularly Windhoek.

The lockdown according to Geingob, will last for 16 days and as part of the new dispensation, measures which were applicable to Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis have now extended to Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth.

The new measures include a curfew on the mentioned local areas which will prohibit the movement of people between 20:00 to 05:00 daily.

“These have not been easy decisions to take, but they are necessary. The measures being put in place have one singular objective – to suppress the spread of COVID-19, so as to protect the lives of Namibians. The confirmation of clustered community transmissions is of great concern,” the President said.

He added, “If left unchecked, this pandemic will be catastrophic for our country in terms of lives lost, the economy and increased physical suffering due to illness.”

The President also confirmed that the return to Stage 3 of the lockdown will also have subsequent consequences on government’s plans for the revival of the tourism sector, which was scheduled to begin this month.

Namibia has recorded 3,229 cases thus far, with the majority of cases coming from Walvis Bay and Windhoek.

“We are aware that the economy is hurting and this is why we cannot afford to take these measures lightly. All of us must play our part in the interest of our families, communities and the nation at large. Let us take personal responsibility to adhere to all measures for the good of our health, our economy and our future,” the President admonished.

Public gatherings have now been limited to 10 persons countrywide, including weddings, funerals and religious gatherings.

After midnight tonight, Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth residents will also not be able to visit other towns without a permit.

“The issuance of permits for travel from and to restricted areas to attend social events such as weddings and church events is strictly prohibited. However, permits will be issued for travel to attend funerals of immediate family members, that is spouse, parents, siblings and children,” said Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula.

The Minister explained that people travelling from high-risk areas, including the restricted areas will be required to submit to mandatory supervised quarantine for a period of seven days upon arrival at their respective destinations.

Nightclubs, gambling houses and casinos have also been banned from operating for 16 days, with restaurants operating on a takeaway basis only.

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