Namibia: Alarming Surge of Covid-19 Cases Raises Deep Concerns

Written by Dr. Florence Akano

Namibian President Hage Geingob has expressed deep concern over the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, citing the potential impact on the country’s ongoing economic recovery from the devastation caused by the pandemic. 

Geingob’s remarks were made during a farewell meeting with Nicholas Bruhl, the Swiss head of mission in Pretoria, South Africa, who had been accredited to Namibia.

Acknowledging the positive trajectory of the nation’s economy, Geingob underscored the alarming nature of the rising Covid-19 infection rates. He speculated that the cold weather could be a contributing factor to the increase. The President indicated that he had observed the upward trend in cases through the Covid-19 update shared the previous week.

Namibia’s Minister of Health and Social Services, Kalumbi Shangula, delivered the latest statistics on Wednesday, revealing 34 new cases linked to the novel coronavirus, six cases of reinfection, and 33 new recoveries. Shangula issued a warning to the public, emphasizing that Covid-19 remains prevalent within communities and has seen a significant 94% surge in cases compared to the previous week.

Shangula stated in a press statement, “The number of tests increased by 94%, compared to the previous week (24-30 April 2023), whereby 152 tests were conducted. The number of cases recorded this week increased by 37.9%, compared to that of the previous week.”

Among the 34 new infections, two healthcare workers and a student were included. The age range of those affected spans from five months to 81 years. As for the vaccination progress, a total of 510,135 individuals have been vaccinated, with 557,186 adults aged 18 and above having received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. This accounts for 37.8% of the target population of 1,471,973.

Shangula provided additional details on the vaccination efforts, stating, “A total of 217,652 have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while 276,183 adults have received two doses of other vaccine types. Hence, 493,835 adults have completed their vaccination, translating to 33.5% of the target population. A total of 128 individuals have received component one of the Sputnik V vaccines and 76 have received component two of the same vaccine. Hence, a total of 204 doses of Sputnik V were administered. This is included in the grand totals above.”

Currently, two confirmed Covid-19 cases require hospitalization, with none in the intensive care unit. Minister Shangula urged heightened vigilance, particularly in the Khomas region.

It is noteworthy that Namibia lifted all Covid-19-related restrictions in July 2022 after an arduous two-year battle against the pandemic that claimed over 4,060 lives. However, on May 5, 2023, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, confirmed that Covid-19 would no longer be classified as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). PHEIC declarations are made when a health emergency exhibits severity, suddenness, or unusualness, or has implications beyond the affected country’s borders. Namibia had declared a state of emergency due to Covid-19 in March 2020.

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Dr. Florence Akano

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