Funerals still too large

By Confidente Reporter

THE Ministry of Health and Social Services has expressed concern with increasingly huge crowds in attendance at funerals since the lifting of the lockdown, warning that attendance is still limited to 10 people per funeral.

According to Deputy Health Minister Esther Muinjangue, they have observed huge crowds at public places and especially at funerals during the first week of phase two of the state of emergency. She noted that since the lockdown phase lapsed, people are not being careful, despite the current stage being one of the most critical phases.

“The impression is that things have come to normal. We want to warn people that even though the lockdown has been lifted, we are still in the state of emergency. Stage two, which we are in now, is very critical and we urge Namibians to practice hand hygiene, maintain and practice social distancing while staying safe,” Muinjangue stated.

She further cautioned that although people are allowed to return to work, it does not mean the country is out of danger and that everyone can now start visiting and socialising. According to her, people are expected to go to work and back to their homes and only visit shops to buy critical things.

“We are still not at a situation where we can start socialising, so please adhere to the regulations and the rules so that we can keep the number of confirmed cases at 16 while trying to increase the number of recoveries,” the deputy minister urged.

Giving an update on the country’s current status as of Monday afternoon, Muinjangue confirmed that Namibia has recorded 11 recoveries with only five active cases, who are in stable condition. The country has not recorded any deaths related to Covid-19 and has gone over 34 days without registering any new cases.

She further noted that the total cumulative samples received and administered in the country since the outbreak stands at 1 449 but so far the surveillance team has identified 242 people during the contact tracing process, which is still ongoing.

Muinjangue said 18 more people were quarantined over the weekend bringing the total number of people to have been quarantined to 1 083. She said of those, 618 persons have been discharged, leaving only 465 people in quarantine facilities across the country. The number of people in quarantine facilities across the country keep changing as people arrive back in the country, especially those who went abroad for medical assistance and check-ups.

Over the weekend, Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula also warned that although the country is making strides, the authorities and citizens cannot let down their guards, as the rate of infection around the world is not levelling off, especially in Europe and America, that continue to lead in terms of infections and Covid-19 deaths.

He emphasised that the wearing of masks during the current phase is mandatory but is no substitute for other measures, such as handwashing and social distancing, aimed at preventing the transmission of the virus.

“Stage two is most critical as we migrated from lockdown to free movement within the country. We continue to be vigilant to avoid new cases and to manage cases we have under our care,” Shangula stated, adding that the effects of how Namibians conduct themselves during this period will only become evident in the next weeks to come.