During the bi-weekly media briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the Erongo region on 09 November 2021, governor Neville Andre assured inhabitants that they are fully prepared for the much-talked-about Covid-19 fourth wave.
He said the region is capacitated with sufficient human resources, increased testing capacity, logistics and vaccines should the wave hit. Andre thus urged local authorities to strengthen their systems accordingly. Additionally, the region commits itself to vaccinate at least 40% of the 121 000 target population by December 2021 in a bid to break the chain of Covid-19 transmissions, break the severity of the virus, and reduce mortalities.
The health director in the region, Anna Jonas, indicated that training has been at the core in preparation for the anticipated Covid-19 fourth wave, with medical staff receiving training from international organisations to learn how other countries manage the pandemic. The region has also recruited new medical personnel to sufficiently cater for all health-related matters. Jonas emphasised that although the region is fully prepared, what is not known about the anticipated wave is its magnitude. She, therefore, urged the region’s inhabitants to go for vaccinations, especially with the festive season fast approaching, and in view of the anticipated wave. So far, 23% of the target population is fully vaccinated.
Chief medical officer in Erongo, Dr Leonard Kabongo, said a new variant of Covid-19 is identified as Delta Plus, also called AY.4.2, originating from the United Kingdom. Delta Plus is a sub-strain of the Delta variant, which is currently the fastest-spreading variant. It is not yet known if the new variant is more transmissible than the original Delta, despite it accounting for more than 6% of cases in the UK.
“Experts say this new Delta is unlikely to be stronger than the original Delta, but more likely to contribute to a slower increase in new cases,” Kabongo explained. There is also no suggestion that a new vaccine will be needed against these variants, so the public health measures still stand.
Chief inspector Erick Nghaamwa of the Namibian Police indicated that the security cluster will do its utmost to increase its presence in the communities and maintain order in ensuring adherence to Covid-19 regulations. He said the security cluster has been recording cases of non-adherence to Covid-19 regulations, with specific emphasis on alcohol outlets that go beyond trading hours as well as exceeding the limit of people allowed in establishments.
The Erongo region is generally observing positive signs regarding the Covid-19 pandemic as it’s recording a downward trend of positive cases. Covid-19 positive cases have drastically dropped, with the region recording five cases per week on average. The region has only had 11 active Covid-19 cases from August to date. However, more still needs to be done to continually guard and adhere to Covid-19 regulations. Hospitals and mortuaries have likewise resumed normal operations.
Misinformation regarding the effects caused by the vaccine has been on the rise, and has caused vaccine hesitancy.
The public is advised to observe Covid-19 measures at all times, get vaccinated, wear face masks, sanitise and practice social distancing.
•Rauna Kalola is an information officer in the MICT, Erongo.