WINDHOEK, June 20 — The Ministry of Health and Social Services in Namibia has expressed great concern over the surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, urging the nation to get vaccinated as the country is being hit hard by a third wave.
Minister of Health and Social Services Kalumbi Shangula on Saturday lauded the increasing number of people taking up vaccination to fight the surging COVID-19 numbers, saying this showed growing confidence in vaccination as a sure way of preserving life.
Shangula, however, raised concern over the high number of Namibians who are dying from COVID-19 without being vaccinated despite the country reaching 101,933 inoculations.
As of Saturday, the country’s daily COVID-19 update recorded 1,649 newly confirmed cases which set the positivity ratio at 36 percent. Namibia now has 71,761 cases recorded and 1,134 deaths.
The increase in new infections has contributed severely to the shortage of admission beds that some patients are being turned back home whilst others are bringing their own camping beds.
According to Ferlin De Almeida-Schiceya, a supervisor at Robert Mugabe Clinic in the capital Windhoek, the number has increased not significantly but just drastically beyond what they can handle.
“In March and April we have less than 100 people who would be tested per day but ever since the beginning of June or towards mid-May until to date, we don’t test less than 400 people per day,” she said.
On the other hand, some patients are not being admitted due to lack of oxygen in the hospitals and Shangula has confirmed about the current oxygen shortage crisis.
Shangula acknowledged that the surge of cases is worrisome and urged the public to get vaccinated.
“We are facing a critical stage as the number of new infections consistently remains above 1,000. In addition, the number of deaths announced daily remains above thirty. Let us make use of the only tools in our arsenal: scrupulously observe public health measures and get vaccinated,” highlighted part of the Ministry’s COVID-19 daily update.
It is against this background that the government issued new regulations on Tuesday which include the restrictions of entry or exit of people in Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth local authority areas as Windhoek had recorded at least 52 percent of the total cases.
The public gathering number was reduced from 50 to 10 people on the condition that it doesn’t last more than two hours for indoor events.
Face-to-face teaching and learning for primary, secondary schools, and higher education institutions, including technical education providers, has been suspended until June 30.
While curfew still remains at 10 p.m., the sale, and purchase of liquor from shebeens and bars, is only allowed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, on a take-away basis only.
Similarly, gambling houses and nightclubs are deemed to be high-risk under the circumstances and will not be permitted to operate. All contact sports have been suspended and no spectators will be permitted at live sporting events.
While addressing the nation on the COVID-19 updated regulations, President Hage Geingob reiterated the essence of the COVID-19 vaccine as a weapon in the fight against the pandemic.
“Vaccination is an important weapon in our arsenal towards reaching herd immunity and defeating COVID-19. I, therefore, encourage all eligible Namibians to go out and receive their COVID-19 vaccine. It is for our own good and I implore you, as responsible and caring citizens, to take the vaccine,” said Geingob.
He encouraged Namibian people to become paragons of discipline and resilience, form a united front to overcome COVID-19.