Health

Shangula rules out lockdown but hints at stricter measures

Summary

While the government is trying to shy away from another lockdown, they may be forced to introduce stricter measures as the country’s COVID-19 situation worsen with the COVID-19 deaths nearing 1 000.Health Minister, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, said this on Th…

While the government is trying to shy away from another lockdown, they may be forced to introduce stricter measures as the country’s COVID-19 situation worsen with the COVID-19 deaths nearing 1 000.

Health Minister, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, said this on Thursday while responding to questions in the National Assembly by National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) parliamentarian, Joseph Kauandenge, who wanted to know whether the country is heading to another lockdown.

“Has the ministry ruled out any possible lockdown because, at the time when the infection rate was so high, we went on a lockdown and now when the situation is so dire, with many people dying, are we going to say we trust people to make sound judgments and protect themselves, which is happening?” Kauandenge asked.

By Thursday, Namibia had reported 60 329 cumulative cases, while at least 950 people have died from the virus.

In response, Shangula said the ministry has a team that monitors the pandemic situation on a daily basis and makes recommendations to arrest the situation.

“We are trying to shy away from the lockdown because it has also assumed certain connotations but what I can assure you is that we monitoring the situation and we may intervene at any time when we feel it is warranted,” he said.

He said the current measures are going to lapse on 30 June, but with the current epidemical trend and the latest developments, the team is sitting down to analyse the situation, review the measures and see whether it is prudent to intervene before 30 June.

Earlier this week, while updating parliament on the country's situation, the minister said the current death figures far surpassed the figures estimated in the Disease Estimate Projection Model that indicated that Namibia would have recorded 834 deaths due to COVID-19 during the years 2020 and 2021.

He said this has now placed pressure on available space at state mortuaries, while the rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations are placing immense pressure on the healthcare system.

He said the situation is so critical that the occupancy rate in most COVID-19 isolation and intensive care units, both in the public and private sector, ranges between 67 per cent and 100 per cent on any given day.

Source: Namibia Press Agency