Erongo moves to Stage 3

Restrictions eased

22 June 2020 | Government

The Stage 1 lockdown of the Erongo region lapses at midnight tonight, while the other 13 regions are due to migrate from Stage 3 to Stage 4 at midnight on Monday, 29 June 2020 (next week).

President Geingob announced that Erongo will migrate from Stage 1 to Stage 3 at midnight tonight until midnight on Monday 6 July 2020, for an initial period of 14 days or one-incubation cycle.

The president said that the incidence of new infections at Walvis Bay in particular, confirms the presence of isolated cluster outbreaks at the town. Targeted testing through active case search is being conducted by the Ministry of Health to determine the possibility of community transmission.

The following key measures will become applicable for the Erongo region from midnight tonight:

• Travel between towns in the Erongo region and to the rest of the country will be permitted, with exception of the Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas. Travel between these Local Authority Areas will be permitted but travelling into and out of these Local Authority Areas to the rest of the country is discouraged and will thus be restricted to emergency situations only.

“Bearing in mind that the disease does not move by itself but through human carriers, all residents are strongly urged to avoid unnecessary travel during this period, and allow authorities to conduct the active case search at these towns in an effort to determine the extent of spread of disease into the community,” said the president.

• Essential service providers and truck drivers will be permitted to travel into and out of the region with an authorized permit.

“To avoid local truck drivers mixing with cross-border truck drivers, the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Social Services are directed to identify separate Truck Ports and parking areas at Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas. Local truck drivers are to be escorted by law enforcement officials to and from their respective delivery destinations,” the president said.

• Public gatherings in Erongo will be restricted to 50 persons, with exception of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund & Arandis Local Authority Areas, which will be restricted to gatherings of 10 persons.

• Schools across the Erongo region that meet Covid-19 Compliance Standards may resume face-to-face instruction for grade 11 and 12. For the Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas, the resumption of grades 11, 12, and pre-primary (grade 0 to 3) remains suspended for the next 14 days. Face-to-face instruction will be determined pending observation of the unfolding situation in those towns.

• Vulnerable persons will be permitted to work from home in the Erongo region subject to authorization issued by the employer and upon presentation of a valid medical certificate. Old age homes remain under isolation and caregivers should strictly adhere to the health and hygiene protocols.

Relaxing restrictions

The president said that government’s approach to further relax national restrictions under Stage 4 aims to boost social and economic activities, while continuing to advocate for intensified public adherence to health and hygiene protocols.
This is being done to safeguard successes achieved in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

The president explained that an additional Stage 5 estimated to commence on 18 September 2020, was added to address exclusively the opening of points of entry and the resumption of air travel.

The following measures apply to all residents across 13 regions of the country:

1. Namibia will migrate from Stage 3 to Stage 4 with relaxed precautions on 30 June to 17 September 2020 for an extended 10-week period.

2. Points of entry will remain closed except for the transportation of imported goods.

The president said that government in collaboration with the Tourism and Hospitality sector will conduct a targeted International Tourism revival initiative between 15 July and 15 August 2020.

“This initiative will look to accommodate a limited number of tourists, who will be determined in consultation with the private sector, from a carefully selected low risk market that has potential to contribute towards our tourism sector that employs over 100,000 Namibians. Modalities for this initiative will be announced in the coming weeks and this trial will inform and strengthen public sector preparations for the imminent reopening of points of entry under Stage 5.”

3. Travel related quarantine: As from 30 June 2020, all Namibians & Non-Namibians entering the country must submit to a Covid-19 PCR test on arrival and mandatory, Government supervised quarantine at own cost. Only citizens who cannot afford to quarantine at own cost can apply to be quarantined at cost to Government.

4. The size of public gatherings will increase to 250 people for social gatherings including weddings, funerals and religious gatherings. Members of the public must strictly adhere to the Health & Hygiene protocols.

5. Education: The resumption of pre-primary (grade 0 to 3) is deferred for a period of two weeks until Monday 6 July 2020. The Ministry of Education will provide an updated schedule to the public.

“Government’s risk mitigation strategy for the resumption of face-to-face schooling is consistent with guidelines prescribed by the World Health Organisation. In the event a pupil or staff member presents Covid-19 related symptoms or tests positive, the school will be suspended for a period of 14-days and traced contacts will be placed under quarantine,” the president said.

Reassurance

President Geingob reassured parents and guardians, who he said are understandably anxious about the decision to send their children back to school during a time of great uncertainty.

“According to the evidence before us, the consequences of not resuming learning following a long disruption to the academic calendar can have lasting and undesirable consequences on the academic progression of our children.”

However, the president emphasised that the return of learners to class is voluntary.

“Parents may decide to keep their children home and assume responsibility for home schooling. Our schools should therefore not employ coercive or punitive measures against parents who decide not to initially resume face-to-face instruction. In the meantime Government will continue to strengthen public health response measures through surveillance, testing, contact tracing and isolation of confirmed cases, and by intensifying public education."

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