Namibia to close schools again to curb COVID-19 spread

Namibian President Hage Geingob giving a televised address on Friday, 31 July 2020. /Photo courtesy: Hage Geingob – Twitter

Namibian President Hage Geingob has ordered a shutdown of the country’s schools again starting next week as part of a raft of new measures in a bid to curb further spread of COVID-19.

In a televised speech on Friday, Geingob suspended schools from 4 August for 28 days, saying the move was necessary to ensure to eliminate the risks associated with the spread of the virus.

The measure affects early childhood development, pre-primary, primary and the first two grades of high school.

Reuters reports that public gatherings will also be capped at 100 attendants from 250 initially.

By Saturday afternoon, Namibia had reported 2,129 COVID-19 infections and 10 deaths, according to data from the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

The consumption of alcohol at bars and taverns has also been prohibited, and Namibians will only be allowed to consume their drinks at home.

Geingob however relaxed rules for international tourists, who will no longer be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival. They will instead be required to a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test conducted 72 hours before arrival.

The president said the move was to ensure that the country moved on economically despite the health crisis.

“Our experience has taught us that a full lockdown of social and economic activities comes at an equally high premium and cannot be sustained over a prolonged period,” Reuters quotes Geingob.