Namibia to ease COVID-19 restrictions despite rise in cases

Namibia’s countrywide COVID-19 related restrictions will be lowered in 13 of its 14 regions, President Hage Geingob said on Monday. Geingob, however, said that the strictest measures will still be in force in Erongo, a region identified as the nation’s COVID-19 hotspot.

According to Geingob, the move is to improve the nation’s social and economic activities despite the recording of an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“The government’s approach, to further relax national restrictions under Stage 4, aims to boost social and economic activities, while continuing to advocate for intensified public adherence to health and hygiene protocols to safeguard our successes,” – Geingob told reporters in the capital Windhoek.

The relaxation comes into effect at the end of June and will see, among other things, a limited number of tourists from “a carefully selected low-risk market” admitted to help revive the struggling sector.

Liquor outlets, taverns and bars will be allowed to operate under normal working hours, but the sale of alcohol will only be permitted for takeaway. Meanwhile, casinos and gambling establishments will open for pre-booked clients with no walk-ins and informal gambling houses will be allowed to open as long as they maintain a logbook.

Additionally, gatherings of as many as 250 people for weddings, funerals and religious services will be permitted while attendance at schools remains voluntary. Sports activities are also allowed as long as the public gathering limit is strictly observed.

Namibia may lower the risk level to ‘stage 5’ in September, which will see borders reopen and air travel resume, according to the president. Namibia has so far recorded 63 confirmed COVID-19 cases out of which about two-thirds, 42, are in the Erongo region. Geingob previously said that the risk profile for the spread of COVID-19 in Erongo, where the port town of Walvis Bay is located, warrants specific attention.


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