Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) leader Panduleni Itula has criticised recent measures imposed by government such as enforcing a night curfew countrywide, while gradually reopening schools.
Itula said the interventions were contradictory and ill informed. Grade 7, 8 and 9 opened on Monday in all regions, with the exception of Khomas while the said grades are expected to open on Monday next week in the region, which is considered as the virus epicentre. Likewise, grade 4, 5 and 6 will re-open for the rest of the country including Khomas on Monday next week. As of 21 September, pre-primary, grade 0 to grade 3 will resume face-to-face classes. “Are the physicians suggesting, in their recommendations to the head of state that coronavirus spreads more at night than during the day, or are their advice such that, prohibiting crowds and social congregation at night reduces infection rates, whilst increasing the number of people in taxis and classrooms reduces human interaction and thus potential viral spreading risks? questioned Itula.
He further claimed government is not following evidence-based advice from experts. According to Itula, the consequent result on the clinical environment, of returning children to school, is most likely for the disease infection rate to increase. This, he said, is contrary to his advice in April 2020, when he on scientific reasoning advised not to send children back to school until the country is clear as to the prevalence of the disease. He said the measures enforced seem to suggest a high virulence and thus returning to school appear to be contradicted on scientific grounds.
“Opening up a class of 30 learners in every 10 classes of a school creates a risk factor of increase in infection rate of 300 pupils per day,” he said. This factor, he said, is multiplied by a moderate factor of five in a household of five persons when the students return home, resulting in 1 500 infection risks in that day.
“This consideration does not include travelling in taxis or encountering friends at shopping malls. Where each household has two working persons, working in an office environment of 10, the potential spread is increased x10,” he said.
This state of affairs, according to Itula, provides a dichotomy in the perceived belief that the disease spreads more at night than during the day, which he said government justifies the imposition of a dusk-to-dawn curfew. He said human activities increase during the day, especially with added schools opening, more taxis are taking children to school.
“Yet it is not these potential risk factors that are taken into consideration,” he said.