Lockdown measures divide Namibia

24 August 2020 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected]

Worrying and alarming are adjectives deputy health minister Esther Utjiua Muinjangue used to characterise the current infection rate in Namibia, adding that the country now has the highest infection rate in Africa prorated to its population.
Based on this, an average of eight people per 100 000 inhabitants are infected with Covid-19 in Namibia every day. This is the highest in all countries on the continent, followed by South Africa, where an average of seven people are infected with corona a day.
On Friday, Muinjangue said 315 new infections were recorded within 24 hours, of which 223 were reported in Windhoek. She added that a 44-year-old male with multiple comorbidities from the capital had died of Corona.
In view of the sudden increase in new infections, she advised the immediate closure of companies and authorities where employees had tested positive for the virus. In addition, she “advised” that employees of old age homes be housed on the premises and that residents are prevented from leaving the facility since this could prevent Covid-19 from being introduced into retirement homes and from spreading.

Healthcare woes
Apart from this, the deputy minister is also concerned about more and more healthcare workers being infected by corona. On Saturday alone, 19 healthcare workers were among the 311 newly infected, 16 in the Khomas region.
“The situation is worrying, not just in Windhoek, but across the country,” Muinjangue said, adding that many of the new infections can be traced back to events such as funerals, weddings and church services, where many people gather. Compliance with the requirements (which, among other things, prohibits gatherings of more than ten people) cannot be emphasized enough.”
Although this appeal has already been issued repeatedly, many citizens still do not adhere to hygiene, distance and assembly requirements.

‘Draconian measures’
This was also the case at a market in Windhoek on Saturday morning, where several hundred visitors gathered, some of them without face masks, and were asked by the police to vacate the premises.
Many residents continue to consider such measures to be excessive, saying it restricts their freedom of assembly and travel.
Among them is the management of Walvis Bay-based Metrotech Calibration Services, which has instructed attorney Richard Metcalfe to prepare a lawsuit against the lockdown in the Erongo region. In a letter to the ministry of health, the latter stated on behalf of his client, that the five-month lockdown had “destroyed” the economy in Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis.
Furthermore, the “draconian measures” not only violates freedom of movement and assembly, but also negate the right to work and education. If they were to be extended beyond the previous August 29 deadline, his clients would formally file a complaint against it.

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