Doctors ‘advise against’ Corona test

Medical practitioners at the coast fear unreasonable forced quarantine

27 June 2020 | Health

Swakopmund • [email protected]


“The majority of my patients do not want to be tested for the virus,” said a general practitioner from Swakopmund in an interview with this newspaper yesterday.

Another doctor added: “We generally advise our patients against a Covid-19 test, especially during the current cold and ’flu season. We only recommend a Covid-19 test if patients insist and if their condition worsens.”

All doctors and specialists shared this opinion during a conversation with this newspaper, especially after a general practitioner was placed in forced quarantine for more than a week in circumstances he describes as deplorable.

“On June 15, I treated a Covid-19 patient who had seen me with a fever and body pain,” said the doctor, who wants to remain anonymous.

“She accepted the diagnosis of a possible virus infection. Blood samples were taken and the Covid-19 team was involved as an additional precaution.”

The patient's condition deteriorated two days later, which is why she was admitted to a local hospital. The positive test result was available the following day (18 June). The doctor was then asked to quarantine at the municipal bungalows.

“This should take about 48 hours and I was assured that the Covid-19 test procedure would be accelerated,” the doctor said. A specialist who was involved in the treatment of the patient was also accommodated there.

After two days, both test results were negative. However, because the specialist is a manager at the hospital, he was immediately released from quarantine, but the doctor was not.

“I proposed a self-quarantine in my apartment, where I was self-sufficient and would not have come into contact with anyone. This request was rejected because no one at home could monitor me,” the doctor continued.

He was only allowed to leave quarantine after 14 days and after a second Covid-19 test came back negative.

Accommodation criticised

He describes the accommodation as very neglected and dirty. His family brought him with pillows, dishes and basic items because they were not available. Meals are unacceptable. Often none were provided.

To stay active, he went jogging one day, but members of the NDF immediately warned him that it was illegal.

“Although the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests self-isolation at home, this is not possible in Namibia. Why not?” he wants to know.

In the Swakopmund medical community, the treatment of the general practitioner, described as unacceptable, has spread like wildfire. Many doctors now advise patients against taking a Covid-19 test.

“Two doctors have already closed their practice because they fear that something similar will happen to them,” the doctor said.

The regional head of the health ministry, Dr. Amir Shaker, was unavailable for comment yesterday. A week ago, deputy health minister Bertha Katjivena said that anyone who came into contact with a positive Covid-19 case had to be quarantined for 14 days in a state facility as is stated in the regulations.

At the same event social worker Audrey Gaes said that isolation was traumatic for both Covid-19 patients and people in quarantine and they need counselling.

“With our small staff complement, we are overwhelmed with the work,” she said.

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