Namibians should make an adjustment towards COVID-19 this Christmas and avoid celebrating the holiday in large groups.
Dr. Eric Dziuban, Country Director for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Namibia, said with coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise across the country, the safest way to celebrate is at home with people who live with you.
“If you want to celebrate with others who don’t live with you, a virtual celebration is the option that poses the lowest risk,” Dr Dziuban said.
Even small in-person gatherings are risky, though indoor gatherings are riskier than outdoor ones. The duration of the gathering is a factor too, as those exposed to someone with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more significantly increases the risk of contracting the virus.
“South Africa’s is experiencing the new variant of the virus, known as 501.V2, and the mutation is fuelling the ongoing second wave of COVID-19 infections in Namibia’s southern neighbour. Sars-CoV-2, like all viruses, mutates with time,” he said.
Dziuban noted that, researchers don’t know if the mutated virus is Namibia but when South Africa experience their first wave Namibia also did, now that South Africa is experiencing a second wave which means the countries are in the same boat.
He said that between March and September 2020, the virus has mutated several times across the world.
“A mutated virus instinctively sounds scary, but mutation is common in viruses. Most of the time, the tweak can be meaningless while in others cases, the alteration in the virus’s genetic makeup can make it worse by making it spread faster or cause more severe effects.
Since the beginning of December the number of COVID-19 related hospital admissions has increased significantly in different parts of the country. At the same time number of Covid-19 and related deaths have also increased sharply in recent weeks.