• December 1st, 2020

Namibia gets back to work… as Govt rolls out mass production of facemasks

Government intends to roll out a mass production of facemasks, as Namibians return to work this morning following the lapsing of the stage 1 lockdown period. 

Under stage 2, the new normal includes the mandatory wearing of facemasks when in public, including inside supermarkets. Travelling between zones will now be allowed without permits, but borders will remain closed for non-Namibians. 
Many businesses and productive activities, of which some were forced to shut down since 28 March, will resume today but with strict health and hygiene guidelines. 

The authorities are racing against time to ensure that masks are made available, especially to the less privileged, who may not be in a position to afford them. 
Industrialisation minister Lucia Iipumbu said they are assisting local manufacturers to produce about 200 000 masks for the vulnerable groups. 

This group, according to the minister, includes pensioners who are about 138 000 as per figures provided by the gender and social welfare departments. 

Iipumbu said the second category includes marginalised community of about 50 000 people who either do not have an income or earn a living. 

The minster told New Era yesterday that they have provided material to some of the local manufacturers few weeks ago for them to start manufacturing masks at a regulated price of N$10 and N$25.  
She said they have given materials in every region to five massive production companies who are at the level of Dinapama Manufacturing and Supplies. 

“As of now, the contracted entities are on production but we must understand everybody was on lockdown and those who are operating are operating with minimum 30% of their workforce and they have thus far produced some (masks),” she said.  
Iipumbu said Dinapama who is part of the local manufacturing companies produced about 4 000 masks per day with a workforce of 30%. Iipumbu said the employees are expected to be on full production by Wednesday and it is anticipated when the entire workforce is back, they will be able to produce about 10 000 masks per day. The government will also do everything possible to ensure that school learners are provided with masks when they return to the classroom on 3 August if the measure remains in force. There are about 759 000 school learners in the country.  

“We all know schools are only opening in August. We don’t know what will be in terms of stages and whether there will be a requirement for them to wear masks - if they will be – we will work on that at a later stage,” she said. 
Stage 2 regulations

Meanwhile, new regulations will be gazetted as part of the Stage 2 lockdown period, justice minister Yvonne Dausab said. “On 5 May we will have new regulations governing the restrictions that have been announced by His Excellency President Hage Geingob. It is important for people to understand the legal framework will continue to operate but will be something slightly newer than what we have at the moment,” Dausab said. Stage 2 lockdown stretches for a period of 28 days and will last until 1 June 2020.  “It is important for people to understand that the regulations that are currently in place including the suspension proclamation that suspended certain provision and various laws will lapse on the 4 May but new proclamation for suspension - if we continue suspending certain provision or various laws will also kick in. It is important that there will be a new legal regime that will govern the next stage of the state of emergency,” stated Dausab. She also clarified that the state of emergency remains in effect until 22 September 2020.  It is a six-month period, which started on 23 March 2020. Under stage 2, shopping malls and retail outlets are allowed to operate, while restaurants will continue to serve customers on a takeaway basis. The buying and selling of alcohol is still prohibited, while kapana traders may only operate for takeaway and private consumption. Salons and barbershops are allowed to operate under strict conditions. Contact sports, theatres and cinemas, gambling houses and nightclubs as well as seminars and workshops are still prohibited under stage 2.
– sikela@nepc.com.na 

Selma Ikela
2020-05-05 10:22:41 | 6 months ago

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