The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced it will prohibit travellers from Namibia, Liberia and Sierra Leone from entering that country on national and foreign flights, effective as of yesterday.
Namibia has been classified as one of the many African countries where there is growing concern over Covid-19 variants.
This comes after Germany considered the country as an area of concern with effect from yesterday, owing to sharply rising Covid-19 cases and deaths in the last couple of weeks.
Namibia on Sunday recorded 1 518 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 1 164.
Only 19 865 people have been fully vaccinated.
The new developments are according to a state news agency, WAM, which reported on Saturday, citing a statement by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
The GCAA said the restrictions would also include transit passengers, with the exception of transit flights travelling to the UAE and bound for those countries.
Cargo flights between those countries and the UAE will continue, as usual, the statement added.
It said the restrictions were being introduced to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) CEO Gitta Paetzold yesterday reiterated the fact that Namibia is now officially declared as ‘variant-destination’ with very high incidence rates; globally, this leads to the strictest travel restrictions.
“The only way out of it is to get our Covid numbers down and our vaccination rate up. So emphasis should be on strict adherence to social distancing, staying home if you know you were in contact with a positive case and vaccination,” she advised.
Thus far, two Covid-19 variants have already been confirmed in Namibia.
They are the (B.1.351) from South Africa and United Kingdom’s (B.1.1.7).
Health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe told New Era on Sunday that they did not find the deadly delta (Indian) variant in Namibia.
“We haven’t found it here. The genome sequencing did not identify the Delta variant here in Namibia,” he said.
Countries such as neighbouring South Africa and Botswana have recorded cases of the Indian variant, while confirmed cases have also been detected in Asia and some parts of Europe.
The GCAA added that exemptions to its decision include UAE nationals, their first-degree relatives, diplomatic missions, official delegations, business jets - after getting prior approvals - and golden and silver residency permit holders, in addition to those who work essential jobs.
Those who are exempted will still have to take a PCR test at the airport and enter a mandatory 10-day quarantine.
Separately, Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management said on Saturday it would allow travellers from South Africa, who have received two doses of a UAE-approved vaccine, to enter Dubai starting from 23 June, Emirates News Agency reported.
Travellers from India, who have valid residence visas and have received two doses of a UAE-approved vaccine, will also be allowed in the emirate.
Not welcome… UAE prohibits Namibian travellers into that country.