Staff Writer

PRESIDENT Hage Geingob is urging Namibians to go for vaccination to sustain the positive downward trajectory that the Covid-19 incidence curve is now showing and reach the national herd immunity of 1,5 million people.

The President delivered his 33rd covid-19 public briefing on the national responses saying the past several months have been profoundly sobering and difficult for the country due to the onset of a deadly and devastating Third Wave of the pandemic mid-May. “However the last 14-day observance period has offered our nation some respite. The incidence curve is now showing a downward trajectory, with the number of new infections, hospitalisations and deaths steadily declining.”

“This shows that we can turn the tide and overcome the worst that this pandemic brought to our country. We must do all that we can to sustain this positive trajectory.”

The President says individual and collective behaviour in the coming few weeks will determine whether the country secures these gains, or they are reversed.

“We do not want to go back and experience the devastation we endured over the past few months. We must aim to progress and to advance towards restored health, life and a robust economy.”

“We will achieve this if we continue to adhere to the public health regulations and preventative measures of social and physical distancing, correct wearing of face masks, practicing safe hand hygiene and getting fully vaccinated,” he says.

Covid-19 regulations have been adjusted effective Sunday, 15 August to Tuesday, 14 September with public attendance at public gatherings now no more than a 100 people from the previous 50 people.

The President says all schools and educational institutions are now authorized to operate at full capacity while gyms, nightclubs and casinos may resume operations with half capacity. Contact sports may resume without spectators.

The president says generally a decline in new infections has been recorded across the country, with the steepest reductions in the Khomas, Otjozondjupa and Erongo regions. He adds that fatality cases declined by 59 percent across all regions, with the exception of Zambezi, which recorded an increase of 29% in fatalities.

Omaheke, although it marginally declined in deaths, it continues to account for the highest case fatality rate at 6,7 percent, three times the national average.

The President says the national rate for people who were fully vaccinated increased from 1.8 percent two-weeks ago to 2.7 percent vaccine coverage. Those who received the first dose have increased from 6.1percentto 7.1 percent. A total of 71158 Namibians are now fully vaccinated, meaning they had taken both doses. “At the current absorption rate of approximately 3,250 doses administered daily, we are falling behind in reaching our herd immunity target of vaccinating 1.5 million eligible Namibians or 60 percent of the population by 31 March 2022.”

The President says the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week, a timely donation from the Netherlands, has contributed significantly to the sharp rise in the number of fully vaccinated persons in the country. “On 12 August alone a total of 7 622 vaccines doses were administered. I express sincere appreciation to the friendly nations and organisations who have demonstrated solidarity and generosity in our nation’s hour of greatest need. As I have often stated, no nation in the world will be safe from Covid-19 until all nations have defeated the disease.”

The President thanks the private sector for contributing towards the national Covid-19 response and preparedness.

He says in the latest procurement of 250 000 doses of Sinopharm the Government paid. “However, under the ‘Vaccine for HOPE coalition’, a private sector initiative led by FNB Namibia, the private sector facilitated and paid for the shipment of the vaccine to Namibia at a cost of N$1,3 million. They are in no particular order: Hollard Namibia, Ninety-One, Allan Gray, Liberty Life, Old Mutual, Stanlib, FirstRand, NamibRe, NASRIA, Santam, Momentum, FP du Toit Transport and Meinzies Airport Logistics.”

A summary of the adjusted regulations effective from Sunday, 15 August to Tuesday, 14 September:
1.  Public gatherings adjusted to 100 persons per event
2.  The curfew will remain in force from 22h00 to 04h00
3.  All schools and educational institutions will be able to operate at full capacity
4.  The sale of liquor remains restricted from 09h00 to 18h00; Monday to Thursday
5.  The sale of alcohol is prohibited Friday to Sunday, with the exception of establishments with resident guests
6.  Onsight consumption of alcohol is allowed at restaurant with meals until 22h00
7.  Gyms, nightclubs and casinos may resume operations with patrons up to half capacity
8.  All contact sports may resume, however without spectators