Namibia shuts schools again, limits public gatherings as covid-19 cases surge

London, August 1, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Namibian schools will be suspended for the second time in four months next week, while limits on public gatherings will be tightened further to 100 from 250 amid surging cases, President Hage Geingob said.

TSUMKWE, 24 September 2013 The Minister of Education, Dr David Namwandi (R) asking questions to the Grade 4 learners at Omatako Primary Schools in the Tsumkwe Constituency of the Otjozondjupa Region on Monday. (Photo by: Mulisa Simiyasa) NAMPAIn a televised speech on Friday, Geingob said the decision to suspend schools from Aug. 4 for 28 days came after considering the risks associated with the spread of the virus.

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The measure affects early childhood development, pre-primary, primary and the first two grades of high school.

Minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula announced the country has recorded 77 new Covid-19 cases from 635 tests.

Of the new cases, 62 are from Walvis Bay, eight from Swakopmund, five from Windhoek, and two from Okahandja. Shangula said 38 of the new cases are men and 39 women. Their ages range from one to 58 years.

Kuisebmund Community Testing Centre in Walvis Bay, Namibia. (Image: Afr.who.int/SABC)Shangula said one Windhoek case is a 56-year-old woman with no known contact with a confirmed case.

She has been conducting meetings at work and has attended a funeral recently where residents from Walvis Bay may have been present.

The woman has been admitted to a private hospital. The ministry is still collecting information on the two Okahandja cases.The country has also recorded two new recoveries.

Namibia has 2,129 confirmed cases, 10 deaths and 166 recoveries with the country’s rate of daily new cases now the fourth highest on the continent following South Africa, Eswatini and Gabon, according to Geingob.

Namibian president Hage Geingob People will also not be allowed to consume alcohol at bars and taverns. They will only be permitted to drink it at home.

Geingob relaxed rules for international tourists, who will no longer be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival but will be required to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test conducted 72 hours before arrival.

They will, however, be required to remain at their initial destination in the country for seven days. A test will be conducted during this period and tourists can proceed with their holiday if the result is negative.

Geingob said the aim was to stimulate tourism while safeguarding public health.

“Our experience has taught us that a full lockdown of social and economic activities comes at an equally high premium and cannot be sustained over a prolonged period,” he said.

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