President Hage Geingob announced on Friday, July 31, that some coronavirus disease (COVID-19) measures will be reintroduced amid an uptick in virus cases. Namibian schools will be suspended for 28 days as of Tuesday, August 4 for the second time in four months, while limits on public gatherings will be tightened further to 100 from 250. Furthermore, people will not be allowed to consume alcohol at taverns or bars.
A state of emergency (SOE) remains in place in Namibia through September 17 and various other restrictions will be in place for the duration of the SOE. This includes physical distancing of at least 1 meter (3 ft), a requirement for facemasks to be worn when using both private and public transport, shopping, participating in outdoor group exercise, using public spaces, and at the workplace. Borders remain closed and international flights suspended. Entry to Namibia is prohibited except for Namibian nationals and foreign nationals resident in Namibia.
Namibia relaxed some COVID-19 restrictions in June. Individuals will no longer be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival but will be required to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test conducted 72 hours before arrival. They will then have to remain at their initial destination in the country for seven days while a test is conducted, after which people can leave their accommodation if the test is negative.
As of July 31, health authorities have confirmed 2129 COVID-19 cases and ten associated deaths in Namibia. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
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