As the number of coronavirus cases in the country spiked at the weekend, both Air Namibia and the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) confirmed an immediate lockdown of their respective head offices and a return to stage 1 Covid-19 lockdown measures due to possible exposure to the virus.
This potential exposure emanates from an NAC employee residing at 77 on Independence Avenue which contact tracing revealed as the complex linked to Namibia’s 33rd Covid-19 case.
According to a statement on Saturday by Air Namibia’s acting CEO, Elia Erastus, the airline’s safety department received information on Friday to investigate a possible virus risk spread to employees and stakeholders.
“The airline found it judicious to conduct an urgent risk safety assessment for Covid-19 possible infection at the head office. The investigation is stemming from the possible exposure due to a positive case number 33 that was traced at 77 on Independence complex. Furthermore, the said complex is classified as a point of risk,” Erastus stated.
He said an Air Namibia staff member confirmed to have visited the NAC head office on Monday, 15 June 2020.
“The suspected officer has been on duty since then and has been mingling with other employees for five days. On Thursday, 18 June 2020, the colleague participated in an urgent meeting that involved more than 10 managers and line supervisors, of which some are from the NAC. The safety risk level has been identified as 5.B where the exposure and likelihood to spread Covid-19 or getting infected is extremely high, unacceptable and the severity level is hazardous,” Erastus noted.
Instant action from the airline includes the immediate disinfection of its premises by yesterday, while all of Air Namibia’s relevant officers and flight operations personnel, including security officers, will immediately be provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
These measures also mean that Air Namibia’s head office has been temporarily declared as a “restricted area” until 5 July 2020.
Meanwhile, NAC’s CEO Bisey Uirab confirmed the NAC head office lockdown for 14 days, with effect from today until 6 July 2020.
Said Uirab: “This decision comes after careful consideration of the possible risk of exposure as one of our employees that works at the head office resides at 77 on Independence Avenue that was reported as one of the places Covid-19 case 33 visited. We urge all stakeholders to interact with us via email, cell phones and other available means of communications as we continue to render service.”