THE reluctance of Walvis Bay residents to adhere to Stage 1 regulations of the State of Emergency reintroduced in the Local Authority Area of the harbour town caused the lockdown to be extended by at least four days.
The port town was gripped by frenzy as people flooded social media with the latest notices from the education ministry’s directorate that if the lockdown is lifted that teachers and learners should report to schools to catch up with the rest of the country that has already progressed to Stage 3.
In lieu of any concrete announcements from government officials, Proclamation 20 as published in the Government Gazette was debated endlessly.
In some cases the owners of certain liquor outlets started cleaning their premises in anticipation of the lockdown being lifted.
The Minister of Information and Communication Technology however, appeared on national television and put an end to the frenzy when he announced that the lockdown will only end at 23:59 on the 8th of June 2020.
He said since Walvis Bay reverted back to Stage 1 the Ministry of Health and Social Services dispatched a multidisciplinary team to the port town in order to assess the situation and compile a report to inform and form the basis of a decision on the way forward after the expiry of the lockdown of the area.
“The overall objective of the team’s visit was to assess and strengthen the COVID 19 overall response and provide technical guidance on key pillars of the response, namely Surveillance, Points of Entry, Case management, Infection Prevention and Control, Risk Communication and Community Engagement, Psychosocial support, and Coordination,” he said.
The team focussed on the reality and facts on the ground following three recently confirmed COVID-19 cases in Walvis Bay.
They also assessed adherence to lockdown measures and evaluated the regional COVID-19 management and control structures regarding coordination, impact and effectiveness.
The team also evaluated the performance of the different COVID-19 control pillars, focusing on the strengths and gaps with the intention of supporting and strengthening pillar response as required.
A preliminary report compiled by the team found that there is a heavy workload due to the various ports of entry and stated that these points pose a real threat of importation of COVID-19 into Namibia.
“The situation requires more attention to address challenges related to human resources, medical facilities, as well as essential supplies and commodities, such as personal protection equipment, and management of quarantine facilities especially for truck drivers,” Mushelenga said.
The report also stated that the management of human remains of a patient who might die as a result of COVID-19 will be a challenge despite the fact that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are in place. In this regard burial sites for such remains have not been identified by the local municipalities yet.
“Members of the public are not adhering fully to lock down measures. In other words, there are violations of the lockdown measures by some,” he said.
Mushelenga said that at this stage it is not feasible to lift Stage 1 for the Walvis Bay Local Authority Area.
“The period of Stage 1 Lockdown for the Walvis Bay Local Authority Area is therefore extended until 23:59 on 8th June 2020,” the minister said.
He gave the assurance that going forward, government will continue to closely monitor the situation and make another assessment closer to the new lockdown lifting date of 8 June 2020.