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Shangula quells fears over Covid variants

2021-05-24  Loide Jason

Shangula quells fears over Covid variants
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Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula has said health regulation measures in place are sufficient to provide safeguards against the importation of any Covid-19 variants into the country.

 The minister said that none of the Covid-19 variants is friendly and the government should aim to protect Namibians against any of them.

 So far, the regulations in place are; any person who enters Namibia should provide
a negative PCR test result or Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test result, which is not older than 72 hours.

It further stated that if the test is older than 72 hours, the person must be subjected to mandatory supervised quarantine and must be tested for Covid-19. 

 “The wearing of a mask is also mandatory. Every person must wear a
mask whenever he or she is at or in a public place. A person may wear a see-through face shield, provided that the person wears a mask together with the face shield.” 

Shangula said that all variants are bad news, including those already circulating in Namibia.

“We were prepared, managed both first, and second waves well and we will do the same with any potential future waves. We currently have enough vaccines for our vaccination campaign. We expect another consignment in May this year,” said Shangula.

 Justice minister Yvonne Dausab said the regulations in place are directed by the ministry of health and are endorsed by Cabinet. “Enforcement and compliance of those regulations are safety and security. The Ministry of Justice ensures the regulations are drafted and published and then we ensure people comply with the letter and spirit of the regulations by providing guidance and clarity,” she said.

Approached for comment, the head of the chancery at the High Commission of India, Vipal Bawa said the number of Indians in Namibia is quite small as there are no direct flight connections between India and Namibia. 

India recently surpassed 25 million infections and 250 000 deaths, the world’s second highest after the United States, with rising cases of mucormycosis, a fungal disease, further complicating treatment as the country faces a severe vaccine shortage in a ruthless second wave of the pandemic.

The coronavirus has devastated Indian cities and regional centres, with hospitals running out of oxygen and medicine and most of the country’s crematoriums have run out of spaces as the country became the new epicentre of the global pandemic.

“These days, international travel for a large part is only when essential. The High Commission of India does not keep data on visitors. The number of daily cases in the second Covid-19 wave in India has witnessed a decline in the past few days. The positivity rate has declined too,” said Bawa.

“People who need to travel to India are allowed to do so by following the government of India’s entry requirements. Likewise, travellers from India to other countries, including Namibia, are required
to fully comply with the entry requirements of the receiving country, for example carrying a valid negative RT-PCR test result,” he stated.

He added that Covid-19 variant B.1.617, which was first identified in India, has also been identified in several other countries, according to the World Health Organisation. Shangula said there are several other variants, and all need to be guarded against by all.

– ljason@nepc.com.na


2021-05-24  Loide Jason

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