Andrew Kathindi

Namibia has now surpassed 100 000 cases of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) has revealed.

This comes as the country has also surpassed a previous record of deaths recorded in a day with the ministry announcing 70 deaths on Thursday, 8 July.

“We have breached the mark of 100 000 confirmed Covid-19 cases reported since the pandemic started. It is very concerning that we are seeing a sustained increase in the number of cases being reported in other regions outside Khomas region,” Health Minister, Kalumbi Shangula, says.

The country currently now has 23 328 active cases, 554 thereof hospitalisations, with 105 in Intensive Care Units (ICUs). “We urge all members of the public to desist from unnecessary travels, avoid attending gatherings such as funerals and weddings. For those placed under self-isolation or quarantine, we strongly advise that you stay at home until your isolation period of at least 10 days is over.”

Namibia has recorded 77 060 cases of Covid-19 in six months of 2021 compared to the 23,941 cases reported last year since the first case was reported in March. 34 000 of the cases reported in 2021 have come in the month of June alone.

More alarmingly, the country has recorded 1,607 more deaths this year than in 2020. Namibia recorded 205 deaths from Covid-19 last year.

This April, Shangula informs, Namibia had overshot the 396 COVID-19 deaths as estimated in the World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa Region disease projection model for March 2021. The country has thus far recorded 1,812 deaths attributable to Covid-19.

Of the 70 deaths recorded on Thursday, 8 July, Windhoek recorded the highest number of deaths with 26 deaths in total; Rundu 12; Tsumeb eight; Grootfontein and Oshikuku five each; Oshakati four; Swakopmund three; Walvis Bay and Okakarara with two each, while Okahandja, Outapi, and Outjo each reported one death. According to the minister, none of those who died were vaccinated.

The country’s new alarming record in Covid-19 cases has been attributed to the Delta variant, which on Monday from tests conducted in the Khomas region, was confirmed to be present in the country. More tests in the rest of the regions are expected in the coming weeks.

President Hage Geingob last week warned that the third wave of Covid-19 could yet reach its peak in August. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the rising number of cases and deaths being recorded in Africa could continue to rise until October.

“Sustained increases in reported cases in South Africa as well as sharp rises in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Namibia, Uganda, and Zambia are of particular concern. Diminished vigilance and relaxation of mandates further heightens the likelihood of surges and poses a real threat to health systems. In our reference scenario, we project 420,000 cumulative deaths on October 1, an additional 163,000 lives lost from June 7 to October 1, and we expect daily deaths to peak at 2,190 on July 14,” the report states.

The rise of cases in Africa coincide with both the spread of the Delta variant and the continent’s winter season, which is believed to be a factor in the spread of the virus.