Health minister Dr Shangula Kalumbi has called for calm among Namibians, saying there was no need for panic over the deadly coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of over 4 000 people around the world.
Shangula’s remarks come shortly after Namibia’s neighbour, South Africa, confirmed a total of seven cases of the coronavirus this week. “There is no need to panic. The virus was found among seven of the ten people who returned from Italy. They are all isolated. The chance is slim for anyone else to contract the virus,” Shangula told New Era on Monday.
South African health minister Zweli Mkhize said the seven formed part of the group of ten people who returned from Italy at the beginning of March.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Bloomberg News reported yesterday that the number of cases in Africa has climbed to 18, with five countries in west Africa now treating patients for the disease. Burkina Faso became the sixth sub-Saharan African nation with people found to carry the virus after a wife and husband who had returned from France on 24 February tested positive.
The Office of the Prime Minister announced last week that it has allocated N$11 million to the health ministry to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Health executive director Ben Nangombe said medical equipment like face masks was to be delivered to regions this past Sunday.
China through its Namibian embassy last week pledged about 1 000 reagent-testing kits for coronavirus to the ministry of health. Chinese Ambassador to Namibia Zhang Yiming told journalists the kits are meant to help strengthen preparedness to deal with any possible outbreak.
“We will offer and will do whatever we can to support Africa to strengthen the precautions. We have resumed normal production to manufacture masks or protection clothing. My government is considering providing some necessary material support for African countries,” Zhang said.
The ambassador fears that African countries, including Namibia, with less advanced public health systems could be worse off should they not invest in equipment for early detection of the coronavirus.
“Through bilateral cooperation, China is willing to assist the countries in their national response plans,” he said.
Zhang expressed gratitude for Namibia’s solidarity message following the outbreak of coronavirus. “This is genuine support from real brother and sister and we value it. We cherish the support; it has given China great momentum to win this battle against the virus. The virus has no borders, we are in the same global village,” he said.
On his part, Shangula said the testing kits would complement items acquired by the Namibia Institute of Pathology and have results delivered within hours.
Hands-on… Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula.
2020-03-11 07:14:57 | 23 days ago