Criticism of quarantine grows

Namibians quarantined at the Greiter’s conference center near Brakwater, fear the worst with another group arriving from Europe also to be housed there.

24 March 2020 | Health

Swakopmund • [email protected]

Namibians who travelled abroad and returned to Namibia to be quarantined at the Greiter’s conference center near Brakwater, fear the worst because another group arriving from Europe on Thursday will also be housed there.

“We don’t expect a four-star hotel or meals, but we fear that under these circumstances we will be infected with other diseases,” a German-speaking Namibian who is in quarantine at Greiter’s conference centre told this newspaper.

The Swakopmund woman, who chose to remain anonymous, described the mood among the people as “very tense”.

“Most people are frustrated and unhappy,” she said. “At lease today we got bedding and a cleaning team has been working since this morning.”

Unfortunately, the cleaning team also creates issues. “There were five men who cleaned my daughter's room with an old mop. They touched everything and didn't always wear rubber gloves or a face mask,” a desperate mother said yesterday. Her daughter was in tears. “After all, it's not just about isolation from the outside world, but also from each other. These men would spread the virus all over the center,” she said.

Thirty-five Namibians landed at Hosea Kutako Airport last Saturday. They came from various countries in Europe as well as the United States and Canada. Upon arrival, their passports were confiscated and they were taken to the conference center, which was described as dilapidated.

“We feel like prisoners,” one person said. “And there are double standards because the ministry of health staff hardly wear protective clothing and are then allowed to leave the centre and go home in the evening,” she said.

She also finds it frustrating that none of the 35 Namibians have been tested for Covid-19, and instead only blood pressure and body temperature are taken daily.
They feel this is unacceptable.

The swimming pool was filled with stagnant water in which mosquitos breed. It was cleaned yesterday - after three days. In addition, the floor was littered with mouse or rat droppings.

“I think we may be misunderstood. We really do not require special treatment, just a hygienic environment,” the person said. She also fears that due to poor hygiene and proximity from other people, a Covid-19 infection could spread rapidly.

This situation could worsen given the fact that more Namibians are expected to arrive this week.

The ministry of health confirmed yesterday that another KLM flight would land on Thursday and an as yet unknown number of passengers would also be quarantined.