The expansion of the Stage One regulations for the current State of Emergency to the Erongo region is a nightmare. But, it has been bought on by the people of that area not taking the government’s declaration on June 1st for Walvis Bay seriously. If you were warned that a huge pride of lions is in the area, why hold an outside braai and then cry foul when they come running towards the smell of your meat?

Let the rest of us in Namibia get tough with ourselves, our friends, family members and those in our communities regarding this pandemic. We need to get these restrictions lifted and try to salvage what is left of the Namibian economy. Let us not make the same mistake of the people in Walvis Bay who were, in general, lackadaisical (for various reasons) about the lockdown.

People quickly blame the government for anything that goes wrong. In many cases, they are correct to do so. Sometimes, government implementation and regulations are wobbly. But, the decision to make Walvis Bay return to stage one restrictions had to happen. The extension of lockdown to Erongo could have been avoided if people had taken the Walvis Bay restrictions seriously.

Police officers thought they had the right to give ‘passes’ for students to leave the infected area and enter an uninfected area. This is a result of poor training. People living in Walvis but working or shopping or visiting relatives in Swakopmund just went on like normal regardless of the rules. Traffic on the roads in and out of Walvis Bay continued unabated. Adults made choices to violate the rules, now everyone in that region will pay the price.

The government takes no joy in reinstating Stage One rules! Everyone recognizes that it is a disaster for the people there. But, what is the alternative? Shall the government allow anyone to do whatever they like during a global pandemic?

What if those ‘very few’ who catch the virus and die of this ‘cold’ are those you love? What if it is YOU on your back, trembling with fever, coughing, and unable to breathe, because a trucker or school student or shopper or worker who doesn’t know (or doesn’t care) about the pandemic comes in contact with you?

Those who have the prevalent attitude that ‘this thing is not real.’ Or, that ‘we don’t have this here”, need to wake up. The number of cases in Namibia has doubled. It is a setback. The government is testing more people, holding all returnees in quarantine and testing them regularly. Instead of cursing the government for the Erongo lockdown, look at the steps being taken to try to keep Namibians safe.

Namibian inconsistency and inefficiency in all things detailed and meticulous are notorious. The country always starts off with ribbon cuttings, speeches and gusto. After a week, people can’t even remember why they are there. But, a pandemic does not follow Namibian rules – it can infect on day 1 or day 1001 just as easily.

The reality is that if the virus pops-up in other places in significant numbers, we all could face Erongo’s nightmare. Back to lockdown. We cannot survive that. The country is already on life-support. Another national lockdown will pull the plug.

For Goodness sake and the sake of your country, family and community, follow the lockdown rules Erongo! Don’t creep away in the night to go ‘home’ to the North or to Windhoek to stay with your Auntie or brother and his family. You are not a loving family member to be welcomed into the fold, you the harbinger of lockdown laws and possible illness for everyone.

People at the coast, do not use quad bikes and off-road vehicles to avoid checkpoints.

White people must follow the same lockdown rules as black people. Stop using white privilege to bully border police or ignore hired security guards who are trying to keep the rules. We have received reports of these kinds of exchanges. Everyone must be careful. COVID-19 does not discriminate, people do.

There are people who carry the pandemic who are asymptomatic. Cases are ‘mild’ for many. We cannot ‘know’ someone is ‘ok’ because they said they ‘feel’ ok or we think they ‘look ok’. There are still about 5,000 tests given in a population of 2.5 million. Let us get through this mess as quickly as possible with no more setbacks.

Erongo! Stay home, follow the rules and maybe in 14 more days, you’ll get by. Don’t drag the rest of us down too.