A CURFEW that will restrict the movement of Namibians at night, along with further restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol, are some of the new measures introduced by government to curb the current rapid spread of COVID-19.
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, while addressing the nation from Sate House, said Namibians will have to change their attitudes while they still have time.
“If we do not stand together to confront this enemy, the avalanche of positive cases, seriously ill compatriots, and dying countrymen and women will overwhelm us. The choice is ours to make,” he said.
Dr. Shangula said that the country will face certain devastations and ghastly consequences if people continue to ignore the basic health regulations and preventative measures.
With regard to stricter preventative measures, the health minister said people will not be allowed on the streets between 22:00 at night and 04:00 early morning.
He also said that the hours during which the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption in places like shebeens, bars, and nightclubs will be limited to 09:00 to 20:00 from Monday to Saturday.
“The sale of alcohol will not be allowed on Sundays and public holidays,” he said.
Dr. Shangula stated that the number of people allowed at public gatherings will be limited to 50 only per event.
He pointed out that organisers of such events will be held liable if they fail to keep accurate registers of people attending and fail to ensure that their guests wear masks correctly, wash or sanitize their hands properly and practice social distancing of at least 1.5 metres.
He said the same goes for business premises of all kinds, as well as open markets.
He further implored shopkeepers and vendors to make sure that their patrons follow the correct preventative measures.
Dr. Shangula emphasised that the correct wearing of face masks while people are out in public will be strictly enforced.
He said that the Standing Operating Procedures and Government Policies created to curb the spread of COVID-19 will be reviewed regularly as the COVID-9 situation changes.
In this regard, the burial procedures of people that succumbed to COVID-9 have been changed.
He said that the period within which a person who died as a result of COVID-19 has been extended from 72 hours to seven days to allow family and friends to mourn and to ensure that such a person is laid to rest in a dignified manner.
“Such burials must, however, be conducted in line with strict requirements for effective infection control and prevention in order to reduce the risk of infection,” he said.
The validity period of PCR test results for people intending to visit Namibia from abroad has been lengthened to seven days from the previous 72 hours.
Dr. Shangula reminded Namibians that contravention of the regulations created under the Environmental Health Act to curb the spread of COVID-19 carries stiff penalties.
He pointed out that the maximum penalty under this Act is N$100 000 or ten years imprisonment.
“We appeal to the public to practice voluntary compliance in order to make the imposition of penalties unnecessary. It is only us who can prevent that by voluntarily complying with these measures,” he said.
Dr. Shangula stated that the new measures will be in place until 13 January 2021.