Namibia takes new health measures as the number of new Covid-19 rises

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The Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services has today issued new guidelines to be put in place in order to combat the spread of Covid-19.

The fourth case of COVID-19 has been recorded in Namibia. Like the first three cases, the latest case is also travel-related. It involves a 19-year-old Namibian citizen who arrived in Namibia from London on 18 March and presented to a local doctor on 19th March 2020 in Windhoek with symptoms. Specimens were taken and sent to a laboratory, and the results returned positive. He is currently in isolation and in stable condition. The MOHSS-led response is actively following up with all contacts of this person to ensure proper quarantine and monitoring for symptoms.

 The National Disaster Risk Management Committee met today and has proposed additional measures that will be announced soon. As has been reported, 35 Namibians arrived on 21 March 2020 from the Netherlands with KLM airline. These returning residents came from various COVID-19 high-risk countries, mostly in Europe, and also the USA and Canada.

Upon arrival, they were screened at the airport, as per the procedure. They are currently placed under a 14-day supervised quarantine in Windhoek district, as per the provisions of the State of Emergency. As per international practice, persons are quarantined at their own cost. However, for this first case, the group has been provided with meals and some basic supplies. From 24 March 2020, their families are expected to provide them with meals that will be delivered at the Emergency Operations Centre in Windhoek for delivery to the quarantine facility. The meals must properly be labeled to facilitate distribution. Containers used to deliver food or other items to the quarantine facility will only be returned to the owners after the quarantine period. This is done to prevent the possible transmission of the virus.

However, none of the persons under quarantine are displaying any symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 standard case definition. Family members of these individuals, as well as members of the public, are strongly discouraged from visiting the facility during this period. Arrangements are in place to facilitate the delivery of essential items, such as food.

Another group (number yet to be confirmed) is expected to arrive in Namibia also from The Netherlands on 26 of March 2020. They will also be quarantined. Arrangements are currently underway for their quarantine.

The public was encouraged to continue avoiding crowds; wash hands, regularly with soap and running water or apply alcohol-based hand rub/sanitizer, avoid touching your face, and stay away from other people when sick. The main symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Finally, The National Disaster Risk Management Committee urged the private service providers to immediately report any suspected case to the Ministry. This will facilitate early contact tracing and minimize the spread of the virus.

Those having any concern that they may have COVID-19 signs and symptoms or other questions can call the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services hotline at 0800 100 100.

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