Walvis Bay schools remain closed, for now

Schools resume partially

01 June 2020 | Education

Dr Kalumbi Shangula; Minister of health; “Schools need to provide potable water, hygienic ablution facilities, amenities for hand washing and sanitizing…”

Walvis Bay •[email protected]



While the rest of the country will graduate to stage 3 of lockdown regulations tomorrow, Walvis Bay remains at stage 1 until Thursday, 4 June.

The minister of health and social services Dr Kalumbi Shangula announced that some activities will be allowed to resume, including the resumption of face-to-face educational activities.

Shangula said that the decision to transition from stage 2 to stage 3 of the State of Emergency and for educational activities to resume, is based on a number of factors.

“The Basic Reproduction Ratio which is the expected number of cases directly generated by one case in a susceptible population remains less than one (Ro< 1); there is no evidence of community transmission in Namibia and all the latest new Covid-19 positive cases are imported from outside Namibia.”
The minster also said that restrictive measures in stage 3 provide sufficient protection for the prevention of possible transmission.

“Public health measures in stage 3 are considered adequate to prevent possible transmission of infection even in cases of face-to-face education and training settings and during limited public gatherings. Our epidemiological and surveillance tools are sensitive enough to predict and detect possible hotspots for Covid-19 transmission.”

The minster highlighted that risk of infection in a pandemic situation cannot be eliminated entirely.

“However, one has to weigh the probability of infection against other socio-economic imperatives and the inalienable rights to education.”

Conditions

The ministry has prescribed a set of conditions for educational institutions.

“Schools need to provide potable water, hygienic ablution facilities, amenities for hand washing and sanitizing. Upon resumption, students, learners, teaching staff and management must wear masks and practice social distancing.”

Education director of the Erongo region, Enfriede Stephanus, said that schools in Walvis Bay will remain closed for the week, pending any changes that might be announced.

“Teachers and learners will stay at home for the week. We have also halted the distribution of educational material for the week in Walvis Bay. Schools in the rest of the region are getting ready to open for their grade 11 and 12 learners who will start on Wednesday.”

The circuit inspectors as well as the Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO) officials are visiting various schools to provide feedback to the regional office in terms of the readiness of schools to receive their learners.

Pre-primary to grade 3 learners are expected to return to school on 22 June, grades 7 and 9 on 6 July and then finally grades 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 learners are expected to be back at school on 20 July 2020.

The gazetted proclamation on the stage 1 of the lockdown in Walvis Bay stipulates that it will end on 4 June 2020 at 23:59 and not 8 June as stated by president Hage Geingob.

Recovery

The minister of health also announced the recovery of the Romanian couple, who were the first two positive cases in Namibia.

“It has taken 79 days since the couple was diagnosed with Covid-19. The couple's recovery marks the end of the chapter involving the first 16 cases. It took 45 days before we recorded a new case. The response team is excited about this good news,” Shangula said.

Case number 22 is still in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Welwitschia Hospital in Walvis Bay. He is on a ventilator but in a stable condition.

Case number 21, a truck driver, is also doing well in an isolation unit at the Walvis Bay State Hospital.

Namibia is now home to 25 positive Covid-19 cases.

“A 32-year old Namibian female health worker travelled to Cape Town on a bus towards the end of March 2020 and returned to Namibia by air on 29 May 2020. She was placed in quarantine upon arrival and she was tested for Covid-19 and the result came out positive. This is now Case No 25. She has a runny nose but otherwise her condition is satisfactory. This is also an imported case,” the minister said.

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