Africa-Press – Namibia. Government yesterday again emphasised that statistics and numbers do not lie, and the benefits of vaccination are convincingly demonstrated in Namibia. The overwhelming majority of new infections, hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths are of those who are not vaccinated.
Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said 81% of new infections, 97% hospital admissions, 94% ICU admissions and 91% Covid-19 deaths are of the unvaccinated population.
The analysis of the Covid-19 statistics from 1st to 11th January shows that the benefits of vaccination are convincingly demonstrated – even in Namibia.
“It is unethical and morally repugnant to deny a scientifically proven benefit to an individual without offering a viable alternative to the proven benefits,” stated Shangula.
Some measures that will take effect on 15 January 2022 is that fully vaccinated Namibians, permanent residents and truck drivers will no longer be required to present a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test result upon entry into Namibia. These categories of people can enter the country at any time with a valid and authentic vaccination card.
For all other categories of travellers, including truck drivers who are not fully vaccinated, the validity of a negative PCR Covid-19 test results remains 72 hours from the time of the collection of the specimen to the time the individual presents themselves at the point of entry into Namibia.
“Non-Namibians who arrive with PCR test results older than 72 hours and do not have a de-isolation certificate will be denied entry into the country,” said Shangula.
He said some unscrupulous individuals are obtaining vaccination cards fraudulently while not being vaccinated. “This is a criminal offence, which is punishable by law. We caution the public to desist from such criminal activities,” stated Shangula.
He stated: “We have noted with utter disgust the persistent and sustained anti-vaccination campaigns laced with false narratives that people who are dying from Covid-19 are those who are vaccinated. Whereas the anti-vaccination proponents de-campaign vaccination, they have no viable alternative to offer about vaccination.”
Shangula noted with concern that an increasing number of people who were infected previously are getting infected again. We have recorded a total number of 1 876 reinfections since 8 December 2021.
A total number of 140 973 recoveries were reported, translating into a recovery rate of 92%. This is a reduction of 2.7% from where we were during the last briefing, owing to an increased number of cases reported during the fourth wave.
With no major changes to regulations, the number of attendees at public gatherings will remain unchanged at not more than 200 persons per event. The duration of the new public health measures will run from 16 January 2022 to 15 February 2022. If the situation deteriorates, the measures may be reviewed at an earlier date.
Based on the current epidemiological environment, the Namibian government does not warrant the re-introduction of a curfew. “Lockdown and curfew served us well in reducing transmission during the third and earlier waves. The current epidemiological environment does not warrant the re-introduction of a curfew,” said Shangula.
Furthermore, the total number of spectators at a sporting event should not exceed 200 persons. In other words, the number of spectators at sports events should remain aligned with the regulation on public gatherings, where the limit is 200 persons per event.
President Hage Geingob said the fourth wave, which was spurred by the outbreak of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Namibia in November 2021, was characterised by a high transmission rate with moderate hospitalisations.
“Notably, vaccine hesitancy persists – and as of 11 January 2022, the coverage of fully vaccinated populations remains low in primarily the following five regions – Zambezi at 6%, Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshikoto at 9%, and Oshana at 10%. The regions with the highest fully vaccinated population coverage are Hardap at 23%, Kavango West and Omaheke at 19%, and Kunene and //Kharas regions at 18% each. Khomas region records a fully vaccinated population coverage of only 17%,” informed the head of state.
He expressed disappointment in Namibians who want to be begged to get vaccinated, an action self-beneficial and should be considered in the greater interest of mitigating the further spread of Covid-19 collectively.
“The problem with Namibians is they like to cry foul, something in your own interest, somebody must beg you. Why must I beg you to get vaccinated for your own safety and the safety of the nation? Why must I chase you around and people are dying?”
“People are dying. It is not propaganda; we are burying our loved ones. What more do Namibians want as proof to be convinced? Yes, it is your right, but we are saying let us get vaccinated for the common good for yourself and the country. People are dying; it is not a joke,” the president said.
He added, “Let us also desist from spreading harmful and unscientific disinformation, which undermines the government’s efforts to protect lives and livelihoods”. By 12 January 2022, a total of 409 264 people aged 18 years and above have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, representing 27.8% of the target adult population (1 471 973).
A total of 107 838 have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while 241 022 adults have received two doses of other vaccine types. Therefore, 348 860 adults have completed their vaccination, translating to 23.7% of the target population.