Namibian President Hage Geingob has announced that restrictions in place nationwide to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are to be extended until Thursday, September 17. Existing travel restrictions in and out of Windhoek and the Local Authority Areas of Okahandja and Rehoboth are still in effect, and restrictions on international travel will remain in place as part of the extension. The restriction on gatherings has been eased to permit up to 50 people to gather and the nationwide curfew has been reduced to 22:00 to 05:00 (local time). Restaurants, cafes, and informal food traders may operate for sit-down meals and sell alcohol for on-site consumption, while bars, shebeens, and liquor outlets may only sell alcohol for off-site consumption. Entertainment events and conferences with 50 or fewer attendees may resume, while nightclubs, casinos remain banned. Social distancing measures are in place, and the wearing of face masks is encouraged in public places.
Travel is currently permitted via Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH), provided arrivals quarantine for a period of at least seven days. Tourists must spend this period in an establishment registered with the Namibia Tourism Board and certified by the Ministry of Health. Other travelers must notify the nearest Namibian Embassy or High Commission of their intent to travel to Namibia at least two weeks prior to departure, and quarantine upon arrival in an approved facility at their own expense. A COVID-19 test will be administered to travelers after seven days. A positive result will require further self-isolation.
As of Friday, September 11, there have been 9256 cases of COVID-19 in Namibia, with 96 associated fatalities. Further international 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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