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Officials busy tracing contacts of COVID-19 truck driver

Officials busy tracing contacts of COVID-19 truck driver

Staff Reporter

HEALTH authorities are in the process of tracing the contact of a Namibian truck driver who has tested positive for COVID-19 in Zambia and that has been in isolation ever since.


The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, during the latest information session at the National COVID-19 Communication Centre, stated that only one Namibian truck driver tested positive for infection with the coronavirus in that country.


Dr. Shangula said that reports of a second Namibian truck driver that has gone missing in Zambia after testing positive for COVID-19 is untrue. He said the person initially thought to be Namibian was later confirmed to be from Zimbabwe.


In a letter addressed to the Executive Director of the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation (MIRCO), Ambassador Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, earlier this week the Namibian High Commissioner in Zambia, Sivave Haindongo, wrote that the missing truck driver is believed to be in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after he passed through Zambia between 17 and 20 April.


“During the daily update on Thursday 30 April 2020, the Zambian minister health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, informed the nation that truck drivers from Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa tested positive for COVID-19.”


According to the information provided to the Namibian Mission by the Zambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the other Namibian truck driver, the 42-year-old Carlos Walter tested positive and is in isolation in Masaiti in the Copperbelt Province.


COVID-19 truck driver authorities tracing Namibian tested positive Zambia
TRACING CONTACTS: The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula. – Photo: File


The Namibian High Commissioner in the letter states that Walter is believed to have entered Zambia through the Wenela border post.


During the latest briefing the health minister said that Walter entered Zambia on 19 April and was placed in quarantine. Initial test results were negative and he was allowed to travel to Kusumbalesa but was ordered back to Masaiti to be retested.


According to Dr. Shangula he tested positive for COVID-19 and was isolated. Two subsequent tests came out negative and has since been released by Zambian authorities to return to his truck at Kusumbalesa.


“We have been informed that he is doing well physically and that he is not ill. There is no other Namibian reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 in Zambia,” the health minister reiterated.


He said that Namibian health officials have since “out of abundance of caution” started contact tracing of all persons who may have come into contact with the truck driver.


Dr. Shangula added that the truck driver will not be added to the Namibian case register and that the country still only has 16 confirmed cases of which eight were declared to have recovered.


“Despite the fact that 1 060 tests for COVID-19 has been performed no new cases has been registered in Namibia. A total of 768 people have been quarantined since the start of the pandemic of which only 263 are still in quarantine,” he said.


The health minister gain urged people to practise all safety measures and to contact health authorities on the 0800 100 100 toll free number of they suspect possible infection with the coronavirus or if they need other health related information.


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