WINDHOEK – The Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Richard Kamwi yesterday said Namibia will not follow in Zambia’s footsteps by preventing travellers from countries affected by the Ebola virus, from entering Namibia.
Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia are the four countries currently battling the deadly virus which so far has claimed close to 1 000 lives in its latest outbreak.
The Zambian health ministry on Friday announced that any “delegates travelling from any of the affected countries are restricted from entering Zambia until further notice”.
“Ensure all Zambians travelling from the Ebola affected areas will be thoroughly screened and quarantined if the risk is eminent upon return until further notice. Ensure all delegates from any of the countries affected by the Ebola virus disease are restricted from entering Zambia until further notice,” said the Zambian health ministry in a statement posted on its official website.
“Ensure that all international events that may involve delegates from the affected countries are postponed, cancelled or such delegates excluded,” reads another part of the statement dated 08 August 2014.
During yesterday’s interview with New Era, Kamwi said Namibia would remain compliant to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, which stipulate that there should be no travel restrictions.
“We will continue to put up measures as required by the WHO such as putting up screening measures and thermal scanners, but we will not institute travel bans,” said Kamwi.
He said Hosea Kutako International Airport, Oshikango Border Post and the Walvis Bay Port are the three targeted spots where the scanners will be fitted.
“There are no travel restrictions. For those who travel from one of the four affected nations, we plead that they disclose where they are coming from so that we can be in a position to monitor them,” said the health minister.
Asked when Namibia will procure thermal scanners for the targeted entry points, Kamwi responded: “We are working closely with the WHO, because we are getting the machines through them. I cannot give you a timeframe at this point in time.”
Some airports in South Africa have already been equipped with thermal scanners to detect travellers with raised temperatures.
Health ministers from the Southern African Development Community last week met in Johannesburg, South Africa for a one-day emergency meeting on the Ebola virus.
At the meeting, the ministers committed to training health workers is aspects of Ebola response to address the prevention and control of the deadly virus. They also decided to strengthen surveillance, case finding and detection, reporting and contact-tracing, and to share information on the Ebola virus with the WHO in a timely manner.
By Mathias Haufiku
New Era Reporter
2014-08-11 08:39:24 4 years ago