The health ministry has so far spent about N$51 million on the quarantining and isolation of Covid-19 patients since March this year.
This was confirmed by the ministry’s executive director Ben Nangombe this week.
Nangombe explained the government has now started saving since asymptomatic persons with Covid-19 are asked to isolate at home when it is safe to do so.
“The change in policy follows the latest science from around the world regarding the infectivity of Covid-19 in individuals. And that de-isolation will no longer be based on a negative PCR test result. As stated at the end of July, de-isolation and quarantine protocols have been adjusted. As a result of this approach, the number of recoveries has increased based on the new de-isolation algorithm,” he said.
Nangombe added the ministry is working closely with clinical staff and laboratory officials on ensuring everything is done according to plan.
“Even for transportation, triple packaging is used for infectious samples. The testing programme is such an important part of Namibia’s Covid-19 response, and the ministry is ensuring that all samples are successfully tested, and results delivered to the individuals tested,” he said.
He said sample contamination is rare, but it can happen and minimal samples have been contaminated, adding that the number of discarded samples is so far insignificant.
“The samples are discarded either because the viral transport media tubes in which individual samples are transported to the laboratory are not properly sealed, causing a leakage because the tubes are not labelled correctly, or the cold chain management protocols are not complied with. Remember, we are dealing with viral agents and all protocols must be adhered to,” he explained.
Nangombe also said the testing backlog has reduced in the country because there are currently four laboratories that are processing Covid-19 samples.