IN SPITE of the exponential rise in COVID-19 infections in Namibia, the country will not go into another lockdown and will maintain the public health measures put in place on 23 December 20201, with the only new measure introduced restricting public gatherings to no more than two hours.
The two hour restriction does not, however, include gatherings at school, as well as places of employment.
This was announced by the Minister of Health and Social Dervices, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, this morning, who was talking at the 23rd COVID-19 briefing at State House.
Dr. Kalumbi stated that for the period between 26 October 2020 to 22 November 2020, the average COVID-19 positivity ratio in Namibia stood at 4.7%.
This has increased five-fold for the period from 28 December 2020 to 3 January 2021, where the positivity ratio rose to 24% on average.
The minister stated that during the past two weeks, a total 6,402 newly confirmed cases out of 26,191 test results were recorded.
While it is not confirmed yet, there is a high level of suspicion that the more transmissible and virulent variant of the coronavirus is now circulating in Namibia.
Albeit this new developments on the virus, Dr. Shangula stated that going back to a full lockdown would have adverse effects on an already ailing economy and as such, there needs to be a balance between livelihoods, and the virus.
He added that newly introduced measures will take effect on 13 January 2021 at 23:59 and will continue for 21 days, ending 3 February 2021 at midnight.
The measures are as follows:
Public gatherings (social, religious, sports, entertainment, cultural) and any other form of public gathering are maintained at the current maximum of 50 persons for any such event at any given time.
Registers must be maintained at all public gatherings.
Attendees of public gathering must sanitise and maintain a distance of not less than two meters between them.
Public gatherings shall not exceed two hours and shall not continue beyond 20:00.
Restriction of movement:
A nation-wide restriction of movement is maintained from 21:00 to 04:00. A curfew remains an important tool in limiting human interactions, thereby limiting transmission.
Sale of Alcohol:
Sale of alcohol and trading hours operations for on-site consumption (shebeens, bars, nightclubs, gambling houses, casinos and restaurants) is retained as per current arrangements from 09:00-20:00, Mondays to Saturdays. No sale of alcohol is allowed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Compulsory correct wearing of face masks:
Correct wearing of face masks continue to be a mandatory requirement in all public settings, including in vehicles, aircraft and other means of public transport with increased legal enforcement.
Saloons and beauty places and fitness centres:
Saloons, beauty parlors, hairdressers, pools, spas, gyms, studios and fitness centres shall practice public health measures. Both the service providers and the clients must wear masks, sanitize and maintain the prescribed distance between them.
Passengers in public transportation vehicles, including taxis and buses are allowed maximum carrying capacity. Public health measures (wearing of masks, sanitizing) shall be maintained throughout the voyage. Operators must plan the trip in such a way that public transport arrives at the destination before 21:00.
All non-urgent medical procedures shall be postponed. Visitations to hospitalised patients is limited to not more than two close relatives per visit. Visitation time is limited to not more than ten minutes per visit. All health services shall continue within the prescriptions of these regulations.