In an attempt to rejuvenate the economy and trade in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, President Hage Geingob has announced plans to open international travel during the newly introduced stage five phase of fighting the coronavirus.
Namibia, which is currently still under stage three, will migrate to stage 4 from 30 June until 17 September, for a 10-week period for 13 regions with the exception of Erongo. President Geingob yesterday announced the government has added stage five, estimated to be realised as of 18 September.
This stage is aimed to address exclusively the opening of points of entry and the resumption of air travel.
Currently, points of entry remain closed except for the transportation of essential goods.
The government in collaboration with the tourism and hospitality sector will conduct a targeted international tourism revival initiative from 15 July to 15 August.
“This initiative will look to accommodate a limited number of tourists, who will be determined in consultation with the private sector, from a carefully selected low-risk market that has the potential to contribute towards our tourism sector that employs over 100 000 Namibians,” Geingob announced.
He said modalities for this initiative would be made public in due course, with the trial period to inform and strengthen public sector preparations for the imminent reopening of points of entry under stage five.
As of 30 June, all Namibians and non-Namibians entering the country must submit to a Covid-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test on arrival and mandatory, government-supervised quarantine, at own cost.
Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said citizens who cannot afford to quarantine at own cost may apply to be quarantined at a cost to the government.
New regulations under stage four of the state of the emergency stipulate that Namibians, permanent residence permit holders and categories of professionals with valid work permits as defined in the regulations should notify the Namibian embassy or high commission of their intent to travel to Namibia, no less than two weeks before departure for coordination purposes. Only categories as defined will be granted entry into the country.
All non-Namibians must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result, valid for 72 hours before entering Namibia.
Under stage 4, the size of public gatherings will increase to 250 people for social gatherings including weddings, funerals and religious gatherings.
Members of the public must strictly adhere to health and hygiene protocols.
“However, in our quest to protect lives today and tomorrow, we must safeguard our economy by mitigating the negative impacts of Covid-19 related restrictions. It is for these reasons, under stage 4, that measures have been further relaxed to facilitate social and economic activities,” Geingob noted, adding: “While Covid-19 may remain in our midst and in our communities for the foreseeable future.”
The public is further cautioned to continue wearing a mask, washing hands, and practising social distancing to fight the spread of Covid-19.
“Our collective endurance is being tested and we must summon the strength to persevere. There is no need to play the blame game. Let us hold hands and fight this invisible enemy,” Geingob appealed to the nation.
Opening up the skies… President Hage Geingob announced stage five plans to open international travel.
Photo: Emmency Nuukala
2020-06-23 12:29:06 | 22 days ago