State treatment only

Ministry remains mum on failure to prepare for the pandemic

25 June 2020 | Health

Swakopmund • [email protected]

Anyone living along the central coast and who tested positive for Covid-19 will be treated at a state health facility, Erongo governor Neville Andre said on Tuesday.

However, he said accusations about a lack of isolation facilities and especially beds, are untrue.

“We are currently in the process of converting several empty garages at the state hospital in Walvis Bay into new isolation facilities,” he said.
The dilapidated garages are close to the former tuberculosis clinic, but there is no room for additional patients given all the new reported cases.

He said the upgrades of the abandoned garages should be completed this week.

He described this measure as phase one in the fight against the virus, while the construction of a planned field hospital was the next phase.

Due to the delay in building this facility, future patients would also be treated in Swakopmund and Henties Bay.

According to a reliable source, the Swakopmund facility can house 24 beds. However, there are currently only four beds available.

“We have 700 beds in Henties Bay,” Andre said, referring to the National Youth Service (NYS) hostel.

Although the alleged failure of health officials in the Erongo region to fight Covid-19 has been highlighted several times in the past few days, the governor declined to comment on the issue. Andre did also not want to comment on calls by regional councillor of Walvis Bay urban Knowledge Ipinge for the dismissal of Dr Amir Shakir and Anna Jonas.

In the meantime, the number of Covid-19 cases in Namibia has risen to 90, of which most are in Walvis Bay.

Andre said that many residents of the Erongo region do not want to be tested because they fear inferior treatment at a state facility. “In spite of this, during the mass testing in Kuisebmond, I noticed that many people want to be tested,” he said.

Meanwhile, the case of a 10-year-old child caused outrage in Walvis Bay after the girl displayed no Covid-19 symptoms but still tested positive for the virus.

Since then, the minor has been alone in an isolation facility at the old Walvis Bay TB clinic and may not have contact with her parents. A social worker described this case as “very unfortunate” when asked by the media.

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