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Fears of wider lockdowns are gaining momentum

Fears of wider lockdowns are gaining momentum

Niël Terblanché

NAMIBIAN health officials are frantically searching for the possible contacts of a man, who tested positive for COVID-19 and was allowed to roam around Windhoek for two days without being subjected to quarantine protocols after he returned to Namibia at the start of the weekend.


Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, the Minister of Health and Social Services, during the latest information session at the National COVID-19 Communication Centre said the 35-year-old man registered as case number 33 in Namibia crossed the border into Namibia on the 12th of June and was allowed to proceed to Windhoek.


“He was only taken to a quarantine facility on the 14th June 2020. Upon his arrival at the facility, a specimen was taken from him for testing. The results showed that he tested positive for Covid-19,” Dr. Shangula said.


The health minister indicated that contact tracing with regards to case number 33 has commenced and added that the patient is asymptomatic and that his clinical condition is satisfactory.


Another local transmission of COVID-19 was recorded in Walvis Bay after a second female prison guard tested positive for infection with SARS-CoV2 in the last week.


Namibia health officials searching contacts man tested positive COVID-19
Pictured: Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula. Photo: Contributed


Although no specific dates on when the 39-year-old woman, who is now registered as case number 34 for Namibia, were given by Dr. Shangula he said the woman presented with COVID-19 symptoms to a private doctor in Walvis Bay on the 3rd of June.


“The patient who has no travel history developed symptoms of running nose, headache and loss of smell on the 3rd June 2020. She visited her private doctor and was swabbed. She has been admitted to the Isolation Unit in Walvis Bay and is currently in a satisfactory condition and the case is regarded as a local transmission,” Dr. Shangula said.


The health minister gave no explanation during the information session as to why the test results of the person now regarded as case number 34 was only made known three days after her colleague from the Namibia Correctional Service was registered as case number 32.


Both women, through their profession, are part of the Namibian Security Cluster whose members are part of joint law enforcement patrols that is responsible for ensuring that the public in Walvis Bay adheres to the hard lockdown measures of Stage 1 of the State of Emergency under which the Erongo Region were placed less than a week ago.


Dr. Shangula did not mention if the two prison officials now registered as case numbers 32 and 34 were part of any of the patrols that had contact with members of the community while enforcing State of Emergency regulations.


Officially, the country now has 34 registered COVID-19 cases, but two more cases are being managed on behalf of Botswana in Gobabis.


The two Namibian cross border truck drivers, whose positive COVID-19 test results from Botswana only became known after they were allowed to cross back into Namibia, are being held in isolation in Gobabis.


According to Dr. Shangula both drivers are residents of Gobabis.
“Before their test results were available, one of the drivers was allowed to drive to Walvis Bay to discharge and load cargo before returning to Gobabis and then proceeding on to South Africa.


“The second driver stayed in Gobabis and was also back on his way to South Africa when both were called back to the town where they were placed in isolation. Both drivers are regarded as Botswana cases but are being managed in Namibia on behalf of the neighbouring country,” Dr. Shangula said.


The hospital employee from Walvis Bay that tested positive for COVID-19 and is regarded as case number 28 has repeatedly tested negative while in isolation and has since been allowed to go home on the 13th of June after he was officially deemed recovered by health authorities.


With regards to the 63-year-old man, regarded as case number 22 and that was placed on a ventilator in a Walvis Bay hospital during the second week of May after returning from the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a crew of a multipurpose cargo vessel is making good clinical progress according to Dr. Shangula.


“He is fully awake and on reduced mechanical ventilation and is breathing spontaneously,” the health minister said.


Dr. Shangula said that the recovery of case number 28 means that Namibia currently only has 16 active cases and that 612 people are in quarantine facilities countrywide.


He said 5 919 tests have been performed by the Namibia Institute of Pathology and PathCare and that the country still has no COVID-19 related deaths.


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