Progress made in Covid fight

Increased testing

11 September 2020 | Health

Dr Kalumbi Shangula; Minister of health; “The health of the Namibian nation is paramount…”

The minister of health Dr Kalumbi Shangula expressed his appreciation for the positive response and cooperation received from bereaved families and society at large with regard to the conduct of safe Covid-19 related burials.

“There were and are still some areas of concern, [however] we are working to ensure that these are ironed out to ensure that our departed citizens are afforded dignified burials and that their families have an opportunity to grieve. At the same time we must ensure that the imperatives of public health are not compromised. The health of the Namibian nation is paramount. We must ensure that no funeral gives rise to more funerals.”

The minister reiterated that since Covid-19 is a notifiable infectious disease by law, the handling of human remains of those who succumb to it, or those remains that return positive results on the first post-humus swabbing, should be avoided.

“This is necessary for the protection of our frontline workers and the public. In the same context, we call on families of the deceased to continue cooperating with ministry officials on the matter of burials to avoid delays so that the burials are carried out in compliance with the public health prescriptoins, which the ministry is obliged to enforce.”

Shangula said the ministry will continue to provide psychosocial support and engage with families to foster a positive spirit prior to and during the burial process so that families may find closure in the aftermath of the passing of their relatives.
Testing capacity

The minister said that the country’s testing capacity has increased with an additional laboratory at the Central Veterinary Laboratory.

“This laboratory has provided its equipment, facilities and staff to contribute to this national effort. Additionally, the testing backlog for Covid-19 at NIP, which stood at more than 4 000 two weeks ago, has been reduced to less than 1 300.”

According to the minister, the backlog should be cleared within the next few days. Thereafter, Covid-19 results will be released within a period of 24 hours.

Isolation and quarantine

According Shangula, positive developments have been observed since policy measures allowing for home quarantine and home isolation where introduced.

“This has provided relief to those who chose and were able to effectively quarantine and isolate safely at home. As a result, we have seen a significant reduction in the number of persons quarantined and isolated in commercial facilities such as hotels, guest houses and lodges.”

Shangula emphasised that the State of Emergency will lapse on 17 September 2020. In this light he said: “The major responsibilities for Covid-19 prevention and control is shifting from government to individuals, families and communities. It will be a sad day if the gains of the past six months are eroded by conduct that is not compatible with public health measures. We will be on auto pilot and must ensure that we stay on course.”

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