WALVIS BAY – Health authorities yesterday announced that the recommended isolation period for patients with confirmed Covid-19 infections will no longer be more than 14 days. This is according to Dr Kaveto Sikuvi, from the health ministry.
Sikuvi, who is accompanying the high-level government delegation assessing the Covid-19 situation at Walvis Bay, yesterday said the ministry of health made the decision based on findings of studies done since the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The decision is eyebrow-raising as people are wondering why all of a sudden we are releasing people who tested positive. The answer is simple. We now know a lot more of the virus than we did not know after studying the past month,” he explained.
Sikuvi said new studies show a Covid-19 patient can only transmit the virus during the first 10 days after contracting it. “Hence we decided to put this in our standard operating procedures, meaning that people will be discharged from isolation facilities after 10 days,” he elaborated yesterday.
He, however, added this does not mean that people should stop practising the safety guidelines after being released from isolation.
Previously, the recommendation for releasing Covid-19 patients required patients to be fully clinically recovered from the virus and to have two negative results on sequential samples taken at least 24 hours apart.
The World Health Organisation last week announced new recommendations for releasing Covid-19 patients from isolation. Earlier this month, South Africa, which is the epicentre of the virus on the continent, reduced isolation days for coronavirus patients from 14 to 10 days.
Covid patients to be released
Meanwhile, deputy health minister Esther Muinjangue yesterday announced several people would be released from the Henties Bay isolation facility this week. Sadly some of those who will be released are also victims of the devastating Twaloloka shack fire, which saw about 200 homes gutted by a deadly blaze, which also claimed the life of a 20-month-old toddler.
“We all know that things are very difficult right now. We are facing a pandemic, a virus which we don’t understand, but it is time that we welcome back our brothers and sisters that have been in isolation at the National Youth Service facility at Henties Bay,” she said.
She also cautioned residents from discriminating against and labelling people who tested positive for Covid-19. “They will not do any harm to us. Let us embrace them with open arms and treat them with dignity. In the meantime let us social distance, wear masks, wash hands and only leave our homes if really necessary,” she said.
Meanwhile, the health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday announced Namibia’s ninth death after a 44-year-old woman from Walvis Bay succumbed to the virus.
“She had other chronic medical conditions. She was tested while on admission and the results came out positive. Her condition gradually deteriorated and she died on Tuesday,” said Shangula, who also announced 69 new positive cases. The cases were reported at Walvis Bay (57), Windhoek (eight), while Mariental, Swakopmund and Engela each recorded one case.
Total confirmed cases in the country are currently 1 986, with 104 recoveries and 1 873 active cases.