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Coronavirus panic grips Oshikoto

2020-07-16  Obrien Simasiku

Coronavirus panic grips Oshikoto
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OMUTHIYA - Fear and panic grip residents of Oshikoto region, which serves as the gateway to northern regions where positive cases of Covid-19 have been reported. 

So far, seven cases have been reported in Ohangwena and Oshana regions of which are all contacts from Walvis Bay while one is of a truck driver that travelled from South Africa.
Thus, residents feel renewed efforts to mitigate and enhance preventative measures should be enforced as people from risk areas travel through Oshikoto. 

The director of health and social services, Josua Nghipangelwa said Oshikoto is a special case and needs re-enforced preventative measures at all times. 
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 195 laboratory tests have been conducted, while 18 people are in quarantine, including two who are self-quarantining in Oshikoto region.

The majority of the tests conducted and those quarantined are of people from high-risk areas in Erongo as well as truck drivers, stated Nghipangelwa.  He said the region has 100 isolation beds, 66 at Onandjokwe, 18 in Omuthiya and 16 in Tsumeb. 
“As it stands, I can say the region is ready and prepared in an event we record any positive case. In addition to the available infrastructure, we have two guesthouses to serve as quarantines in Omuthiya and another two in Onandjokwe, while in Tsumeb, we have a facility with 196???? beds, although only 40 are ready for use based on the number of cases we are testing,” added Nghipangelwa.
Should the situation worsen, there is a contingency plan to accommodate more.
The region has three main entry points of Bravo gate, Oshivelo, Tsumeb crossroad where permanent checkpoints are used for screening all visitors travelling in and out.

“We have a Covid-19 taskforce team of health professionals that are dedicated to deal with any suspected cases. At all these entry points, we have officials screening. We are also using a national system trace for truckers or travellers from hotspot areas which we share with fellow health workers where such are destined to make reservations for quarantining,” he stated.
Furthermore, the director said the community now has a better understanding on how to conduct themselves and this is being supplemented by continuous awareness programmes undertaken by healthcare workers conducting door-to-door and outreach tasks. 
Generally, he said, the health directorate and stakeholders, namely, local authorities, the ministry of education, the security cluster are working hand-in-hand to intervene.

Nghipangelwa is however concerned about bar patrons who are in the habit of not using face masks and disregarding social distancing measures, even though he applauded the community at large and businesses for having tippy-taps at the entrance of their premises. 
“All in all, people should not panic, rather let’s continue to take precautionary measures. The issue of wearing masks and sanitising has proved to prevent other ailments such as diarrhoea and flu that have been prevalent in the past,” he said.

2020-07-16  Obrien Simasiku

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