Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Namibia extends measures aimed to curb COVID-19 nationwide through at least May 4. Movement and travel restrictions in place.

This alert affects Namibia

This alert began 15 Apr 2020 13:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 4
  • Impact: Movement and travel restrictions

Summary
President Hage Geingob has announced that measures aimed to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be extended through at least May 4. Lockdown, previously enforced in Khomas and Erongo regions, will be extended nationwide; however, it is unclear if the same measures, as applied in Khomas and Erongo, will also apply nationally. During the lockdown, all people, with the exception of emergency response personnel and workers in essential industries, are required to stay within their homes. Vehicle movement, except for vehicles carrying essential goods, is also to be banned during the period. Security forces have been deployed to enforce the measure; however, the effectiveness of the lockdown order will likely vary considerably by location. The lockdown measures complement existing orders.

  • The closure of the country's land borders and maritime ports of entry to passenger travel.
  • The suspension of commercial and private passenger flights. Freight and humanitarian flights are exempt.
  • A ban on the entry or transit of foreign nationals and non-residents in Namibia.
  • Officials also banned Namibian nationals and permanent residents from exiting the country. Returning citizens and permanent residents will need to isolate themselves at their place of residence for two weeks upon arrival.
  • Authorities have also prohibited all mass gatherings, including weddings and sporting events.


Officials could expand their response in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Postpone travel if affected by travel restrictions. Confirm flight status before checking out of accommodation and departing for the airport. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions, particularly if traveling from affected locations. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings at all ports of entry. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Ministry of Health and Social Services: www.mhss.gov.na