WALVIS BAY – Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula has urged citizens to play their part and protect themselves from Covid-19 as cases continue to spike. The government will further ease restrictions at the start of stage four of the state of the emergency on 30 June.
Although not applicable to the Erongo region, which will be in stage three, the authorities will allow public gatherings of up to 250 people
Casinos and gambling houses as well as nightclubs will also be allowed to operate under stage four.
Responding to questions posed by New Era, Shangula said the problem with alcohol is that when a person becomes intoxicated, he or she is no longer in a position to apply the preventative measures for Covid-19.
“There will be no social distancing and some may not even wear a mask. These are just some of the things that can follow when a person becomes intoxicated. Through this, some might expose themselves more to contract Covid-19,” Shangula said yesterday.
But despite a rise in new infections at the harbour town, many residents lined up at general stores selling liquor yesterday, while others waited in front of bottle stores and shebeens to stock up on alcohol.
The health minister emphasised that any sick person should not consume alcohol, especially when they have underlying health conditions. He explained that the onus rests on the community at large to take care of themselves despite their new freedom.
“We are now in the stage where the responsibility falls on individuals rather than on the government. In stage one government enforced measures but now these measures are relaxed and it is now the responsibility of the public to be mindful of all the regulations set in place,” Shangula said.
He reminded residents of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis that they would be in stage three, however, with a special dispensation.
He said law enforcement officers are expected not to allow unnecessary movements from those areas. The public is also expected to inform the authorities of the presence of inhabitants from those areas if they happen to move.
Meanwhile, the country recorded four new cases of Covid-19 after a South African national and three residents of Walvis Bay tested positive. The South African national is a 71-year-old truck driver who fell ill after dropping off cargo at Oshikango in the Ohangwena region. He was tested for Covid-19 at Engela state hospital.
Two of the people who tested positive in Walvis Bay are contacts of case number 35, the 26-year-old factory worker who tested positive last week. They are 66 and 65 years of age.
The other case is that of a 51-year-old woman who was part of an active case search. The three Walvis Bay cases do not show any signs of symptoms of Covid-19.
New found freedom... Some residents wait in front of a bar for it to open yesterday after being closed for almost three months.
Photo: Eveline de Klerk