THE economic implications of the global outbreak of the coronavirus are becoming evident at the grassroots level, with local authorities and community leaders laying down drastic measures to prevent and curb the transmission of the deadly disease.
The border town of Helao Nafidi is the case in point.
It has declared the immediate closure of the Oshikango Open Market and of all public and private recreational facilities.
The Oshikango Open Market has an international character with Angolan traders allocated two days a week – Fridays and Mondays – to sell their products to Namibians who mostly buy bulk to re-sell elsewhere at a profit, an economic spillover that benefits other northern towns.
On Wednesday, however, Angolan President João Lourenço declared a complete lockdown on all of his country’s points of entry for a period of 15 days.
The closure applies to all airports, seaports and land borders, including the Oshikango border post between Namibia and Angola.
This move is expected to turn Oshikango, which has already over the years experienced one of the worst economic slumps in the country, into a complete ghost town.
Helao Nafidi town council employees will now work “in remoteness” or work at home. Others will be issued protective wear.
All previous bookings of all conference halls are cancelled and no new bookings will be accepted.
No vendors and hawkers will be allowed at places where people congregate or in front of shopping malls.
The council office remains open and the cash hall will be manned during normal working hours, but people are advised to rather pay their municipal accounts via Electronic Fund Transfer.
According to CEO Inge Ipinge, these measures will be in place for as long as the state of emergency lasts.