Namibia under lockdown, awaits Delta variant test results

Namibia under lockdown, awaits Delta variant test results

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Rustenburg – Namibia will know by Friday whether the highly infectious Delta strain of Covid-19 has reached the country, President Hage Geingob has said.

In a statement prepared for his address to the nation on Thursday, Geingob said there were clear indications that the aggressive strain first detected in India earlier this year had landed in the southern African country.

“However, this will be confirmed by scientists who are conducting genome sequencing in our labs by Friday 2nd July,” he added in the statement seen by the African News Agency (ANA).

Geingob said new Covid-19 infections were rising exponentially and Namibia continued to record an increasingly high number of hospitalisations and deaths across the country.

He said the number of new cases per day had more than tripled since the first week of June, from an average of 507 to the current average of 1,798.

“This rising level of exposure is of great concern, because of the highly transmissible nature of the virus,“ he said.

“Expert projections and simulation tools indicate that the rising incidence curve, during this third wave, is expected to peak around mid-August and may continue well until mid-September … It is expected to get worse before it becomes better.“

“We must therefore do everything in our power to suppress the rate of transmission. Only you and I can stop the further spread of this virus from ravaging our homes and communities,” the president added.

In a push to cut the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, Geingob put all of Namibia’s 14 regions under lockdown from July 1 to 15.

During the fortnight, no travel will be permitted between regions. Returning residents, essential service providers, emergency medical cases, and transportation of human remains for burial purposes, will however be permitted entry and exit into restricted regions, with the relevant permits.

Public gatherings are restricted to a maximum of 10 people and an existing national daily curfew has been brought forward to start from 9 pm to 4 am.

Face-to-face classes for Grades 10, 11, and 12 will be suspended countrywide, as part of the winter holiday, from July 1 to 16. Classes for higher education institutions including vocational education training providers are also suspended for the period. All examinations for tertiary students will be undertaken online.

The sale of alcohol is restricted to 9 am – 6 pm on Mondays to Thursdays on a take-away basis only, with exception of hospitality establishments such as guest houses, hotels, and similar establishments where residing guests may access on-site amenities. No alcohol outlets will permitted to operate from Fridays to Sundays.

African News Agency (ANA)

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