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16 Mar 2020 | 09:02 PM UTC

Namibia: Government closes schools and suspends flights between Qatar, Ethiopia, and Germany March 15

Namibia closes schools on March 15 until April 14 and suspends flights between Qatar, Ethiopia, and Germany on March 14 due to COVID-19; confirm travel itineraries

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Event

The Namibian government announced on Sunday, March 15, that all public and private schools will be closed immediately and will reopen on Tuesday, April 14, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Previously on Saturday, March 14, President Hage Geingob ordered for all big public gatherings in Namibia to be suspended for 30 days as a precautionary measure. All flights between Qatar, Ethiopia, and Germany will also be suspended immediately for 30 days. The latest measures comes after Namibia's Ministry of Health confirmed the first two cases of COVID-19 in the country. The two individuals were a couple from Spain who arrived in Namibia on Wednesday, March 11, and subsequently tested positive for the virus. Local media reported that Namibia's 30th indpendence celebrations which was originally slated to be held on Saturday, March 21, will be been canceled.

As of Saturday, March 14, Namibia's Ministry of Health and Social Services has confirmed two cases of the virus in Namibia. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.