IN light of the sharp rise in cases of COVID-19 in Namibia, cabinet today decided to further strengthen the national response to the global pandemic.
In this regard, it was decided that internal travel restrictions for a period of 21 days will apply to the Khomas and Erongo regions, effective from Friday, 27 March 2020 until Thursday, 16 April 2020.
Besides restricting travel to and from the country’s main economic centres in the Khomas and Erongo regions, cabinet also extended the travel ban to all countries around the world for a period of 30 days.
Special circumstances for the admission of certain persons into Namibia will, however, be considered and approved by the relevant institutions, depending on the nature of travel to be undertaken, and the criticality of such mission to the national interest and safety and security of Namibia.
All returning Namibians and permanent residents arriving from high-risk countries are to be subjected to mandatory supervised quarantine for 14 days, at their own cost.
Cabinet indicated that special dispensation applies to business, commerce and trade missions and activities only from neighbouring countries, on a reciprocal basis, to facilitate the flow of supplies, goods, commodities and services into Namibia.
All government employees, as well as those in the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and private sector are to work from home for the next 14 days, except those providing critical services.
The categories of affected services will be announced soon.
The sitting of Parliament was also suspended for 21 days.
President Hage Geingob, during a press briefing at State House this afternoon, said COVID-19 is a global health pandemic and that it amidst communities whereas seven cases have now been confirmed.
“The Health of Namibians is the first priority. It is why on March 17, 2020 Government declared a State of Emergency and responded with urgent and aggressive measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus into our communities,” he said.
Geingob indicated that the cabinet met and received briefings on the status of COVID-19 in Namibia and deliberated on the next necessary measures to strengthen detection, testing, quarantine, isolation and contact tracing, to mitigate further spread of this deadly virus.
“COVID-19 is not only a threat to the lives of the Namibian people and the public health system, it also bears negative economic impacts threatening the survival of businesses and consequently jobs and livelihoods. Our key priority is therefore to curb the spread of disease. While the pandemic that we are faced with today is unprecedented, we are confident that working collaboratively, we will respond effectively to minimise the spread of the virus and loss of life, and restore the health of those affected,” the President said.
Geingob made an appeal to Namibia’s international cooperating partners and stakeholders and to the private sector to support government’s response measures and mobilise resources to combat the further spread of this virus.
The public was again urged to remain at home and avoid public gatherings at places such as bars, shebeens, nightclubs and markets.
Cabinet decreed that law enforcement must enforce these measures.
Cabinet also closed entry ports for people and passengers at Oshikango, Katwitwi, Wenela, Buitepos, Ariamsvlei, Noordoewer, Luderitz and Walvis Bay.
Cabinet further decreed that private health service providers must inform the Ministry of Health and Social Services immediately upon identifying a suspected case.
“The government fully understands that these are extraordinary measures. They are adopted with the sole purpose of protecting the health, security and safety of the Namibian people. During this difficult period, I call on all Namibians to cooperate with the authorities and to remain calm, in order to ensure that public order is not compromised. Allow the authorities to work unhindered,” President Geingob concluded.