Police warn over rising COVID cases . . . as Windhoek numbers continue to rise

Andrew Kathindi

Khomas regional police commander Joseph Shikongo has warned that if residents don’t adhere to curfew rules, the president could issue new rules that would take the city back to stage 2 of the State of Emergency lockdown.

The entire country is currently in Stage 3 of the lockdown. However on 12 July, Erongo and Khomas had to adhere to a curfew from 20H00 to 05H00 as decided by President Hage Geingob after cases in the capital city began to rise at an alarming rate.

“Right now, there is no guarantee. I had a meeting with the governor of Khomas on Friday and the figures are not good. At least 17 people from Windhoek have died of COVID-19 and there are over 1,000 cases. We should be careful. We could still go back to stage 2 if we’re not,” Shikongo told Windhoek Observer.

The regional commander stated that the first day of the curfew in the region had been used to educate those who may have missed the message. He said activity after 8pm in town and around the city has lowered with kiosks in the locations still providing a challenge.

“Street vendors, kiosks and car washes have been a problem. Some of them have now started selling alcohol. They do it secretly beyond the allowed time of 6pm. I think what needs to happen is that they also need to close at 6pm.”

This comes as deputy health minister Esther Muinjangue on Friday 21 August announced that Namibia now tops African countries in the number of daily confirmed cases, with an average of eight cases per 100,000 in the population. South Africa is reported to be at 7 cases per 100,000 in the population.

On Monday 24 August, 176 cases were reported in the country with Windhoek recording 126 of those positive cases. Four more deaths were also reported. At least 46 of the 56 COVID-19 related deaths were recorded in August.

Commander Shikongo had previously warned that the president could decide that the country must revert back a stage if alcohol-related crimes continue to sweep the country. At the time that the Commander had offered his warning, alcohol sales had been allowed back into stage 3 on 2 June. City Police Chief Abraham Kanime also stated alcohol sales were posing a headache.

On the first weekend of the curfew, several crimes were reported across the Erongo and Khomas regions.

Erongo police spokesperson, Inspector Ileni Shapumba, said that his region has so far recorded seven charges for curfew violations.

“In terms of law and order it has been recommendable. There have only been a few incidents. I think what helped is that Erongo was already in stage 3 so there wasn’t much to change, the only thing that changed was the movement after 8pm.”

Police head of public relations, Kauna Shikwambi echoed these sentiments, stating that all in all there is cooperation from members of the public on measures put in place.

“With curfew being a new kid to the regulations, the Joint Security cluster prioritized education and warned the public members in that regard. Although, a few curfew violations were observed in the lockdown regions, issuance of fines were the last resort in incidents were curfew violations and defiance were evident,” Shikwambi said.

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