Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Namibia relaxes movement restrictions to Stage 3 from June 1 but maintains closure of land, sea, and air borders to curb COVID-19.

This alert affects Namibia

This alert began 29 May 2020 11:32 GMT and is scheduled to expire 29 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Movement and travel restrictions

Summary
President Hage Geingob stated that Namibia will begin further easing of restrictions imposed to halt the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) beginning June 1. Nationwide restrictions will drop from Stage 2 to Stage 3, except for the Walvis Bay local authority area which has been placed under Stage 1 restrictions until 2359 June 8 due to an increase in local COVID-19.

Stage 3 allows for increased social and economic activities; however, major travel restrictions remain in place. The following measures will be in force from June 1:

  • Social distancing of 1.5 meters remains mandatory.
  • Protective masks are mandatory when using private and public transport, shopping, exercising, and in the workplace.
  • Businesses are required to keep a register of customers details, to assist with contact tracing.
  • Authorities continue to encourage the public to stay at home and limit movement.
  • Authorities encourage workers to work from home.
  • Authorities will allow most businesses to reopen, where social distancing is possible.
  • Officials are prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people.
  • Theaters, cinemas, libraries, and gyms are allowed to open.
  • Limitations on bars and restaurant services remain.


Travel restrictions

Several travel restrictions will remain in place under the Stage 3 regulations. These are listed below.

  • Land, sea, and air borders remain closed, except for the movement of goods. Humanitarian and essential workers (non-national) will be allowed to enter the country. Truck drivers entering the country are subject to testing and mandatory, supervised quarantine for a period of 14 days.
  • Returning residents, citizens, and travelers will be subject to mandatory, supervised quarantine for a period of 14 days.
  • Domestic air travel can continue in adherence to social distancing protocols.
  • Intercity travel is allowed without restriction.
  • Road (bus and car) travel can continue with restrictions on the number of persons in a vehicle.


The regulations are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
Namibia is one of several governments in the region seeking to reduce movement restrictive measures and allow economic activity to resume on a greater scale. Namibian authorities envisage a four-stage approach. Authorities plan to incrementally reduce movement and travel restrictions at each stage. It remains possible that an increase in cases could lead the government to adjust its approach and reintroduce stringent measures.

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
Follow all official instructions. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

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.


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