Govt eases virus restrictions … health minister urges citizens to stick to rules
The authorities yesterday warned the coronavirus pandemic remains a threat even though the country is moving towards easing Covid-19 restrictions next week.
As part of the measures under stage 3, applicable to 14 regions with exception of Walvis Bay, the government announced liquor outlets, shebeens and bars may operate but trading hours have been limited to 12h00 to 18h00 from Monday to Saturday as per the Liquor Act. The country will move to stage 3 on 2 June until 29 June as part of the four-stage response plan aimed at easing Covid-19 restrictions.
Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said the observance period will be monitored weekly and may be extended, subject to changes in the country epidemiological situation.
“Experience has shown that more cases are recorded after the easing of restrictions as people celebrate the new-found freedom. We must guard against this temptation, as this can easily erode the achievements we have scored,” Shangula noted.
Since the state of emergency was declared under stage one lockdown, the government has banned the sale of alcohol. Shangula yesterday said no sale of alcohol will be permitted on Sundays.
“The buying and selling of alcohol are only permitted for takeaway. Consumption of alcohol is only permitted in a private dwelling but not in public. Only holders of a valid liquor license will be permitted to operate,” Shangula said.
Public gatherings during stage 3 shall not exceed 50 persons, including during weddings, funerals and religious gatherings.
Citizens have been cautioned to adhere to the operational guidelines as provided, stipulating the number of persons permitted inside an establishment per square metre. However, nightclubs, gambling houses and casinos will remain closed, as these activities are classified as high-risk activities.
For restaurants, cafes and kapana traders, Shangula directed these businesses may reopen for dine-in services, subject to operational guidelines as provided by the ministry of trade.
Restaurants may only open for pre-booked customers; no walk-in clients will be permitted. This provision does not apply to informal traders.
The public is reminded to avoid sharing of public pens in completing customer registers. Shangula noted food or buffets in restaurants should only be handled by service staff.
Tighter restrictions for truckers
Furthermore, he stated, the closure of all points of entry and comprehensive restrictions on cross border movement of persons will remain in force, except the transportation of imported goods. Repatriated nationals are required to submit to mandatory, government-supervised quarantine upon arrival.
“The Ministry of Health and Social Services has developed measures to address the risk of cross border importation and spread of Covid-19 into the country, with particular focus on truck drivers. Truck drivers are to adhere to the standard operating procedures for designated supervised points, namely: border points, truck ports and depots, fuelling stations, banks and quarantine facilities, in line with regional SADC protocols,” Shangula said.
A mandatory test will be conducted by the government each time upon arrival. Under stage 3, truck drivers will be permitted to proceed to the final destination, pending test result outcome.
Upon arrival at the destination, all truck drivers, both Namibian and non-Namibians are to be subjected to a mandatory government-supervised quarantine for the duration of their stay in Namibia. All drivers arriving in Namibia will be screened, tested on arrival and quarantined for not less than 14 days.
A second test will be conducted towards the end of this period. Equally, truck operators are to submit deviation reports from the satellite tracking systems to law enforcement agencies within 72 hours of occurrence. According to Shangula, employers are encouraged to allow employees in vulnerable conditions or categories as defined in the regulations to continue working from home as far as feasible.
Vulnerable persons are encouraged to observe specified shopping hours. Face-to-face visits to old age homes are suspended, while caretakers should wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
Theatres, cinemas, libraries, galleries, theatres, museums, craft centres, gyms and exercise centres are permitted to reopen, subject to adherence to the operational guidelines as provided, stipulating the number of persons permitted inside an establishment per square metre.
Entertainment events, seminars, conferences, workshops and summits, as well as non-contact sport activities are permitted to resume, subject to adherence to the public gathering limit, as well as the health and hygiene protocols.
2020-05-29 10:43:23 1 months ago