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Namibia records first COVID-19 fatality

Namibia records first COVID-19 fatality

Niël Terblanché

NAMIBIA’S first COVID-19 fatality is a 45-year-old man from Walvis Bay who reportedly had preexisting health conditions.


The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, announced the death this afternoon and said the deceased person was admitted at the general ward of the Walvis Bay District Hospital five days ago but was never registered as one of the harbour town’s positive cases.


He said that upon admission to the hospital, the patient’s vital signs were suboptimal.


According to the minister, the deceased person was admitted in the transition ward of the hospital on 5 July after being diagnosed with Pneumonia to rule out COVID-19.


The health minister said that on 6 July 2020, the patient’s condition deteriorated.


“The patient complained of respiratory ailment. He showed signs of severe renal failure and sepsis. On the 8th July 2020 the patient’s condition worsened even further and he became restless and started hyperventilating. He died on the same day,” Dr. Shangula said.


Specimens were collected from the deceased person during an autopsy and the results proved positive for COVID-19.


The patient is known to suffer from schizophrenia but he was doing well on treatment and had no recent episode of psychosis.


Dr. Shangula said that on 10 July 2020, the results indicated that the patient was COVID-19 positive and his death was registered as such.


Since the first two COVID-19 positive cases were registered on 13 March 2020, Namibia has gone for 116 days without registering a single COVID-19 related death.


“I call on the public to internalise the fact that COVID-19 is real. This death must strengthen our resolve to comply with preventive measures and to cooperate with those at the forefront of the response,” the minister urged.


The health minister further announced that Namibia recorded 52 new patients that tested positive for COVID-19.


He said that 50 of the patients are Namibians and two are Indian nationals who are in Namibia on work permits.


He said that 49 are from Walvis Bay in the Erongo region, one from Oshakati in the Oshana Region and two are from a quarantine facility in Okahandja.


The two cases in Okahandja are the two persons from India who recently returned to Namibia.


Dr. Shangula said that the one new case in Oshakati has recently travelled from Walvis Bay and has been in quarantine since 1 July 2020.


“Twenty-seven of the new cases are male and 25 are females. The youngest is a two-year-old child while the oldest person is 56. They are all clinically stable. Efforts to trace their contacts and to establish the source of infection is ongoing,” he said.


The minister also clarified that the case that was registered in Oshakati on Thursday was not a contact of another person in the same town but in fact a contact of a person that was registered as the second positive case in Engela in the Ohangwena Region about a week ago.


The 52 new patients brought the number of active cases currently under management from health officials to 642 while 1 324 active contacts have been identified.


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