Namibia's Health Minister announced on Tuesday, March 24, that all foreign nationals will be banned from entering the country, effective immediately, to prevent further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure will remain in place for 30 days. Additionally, Namibian citizens and permanent residents will be prohibited from leaving the country, and those returning are subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Residents seeking to enter Namibia will only be allowed entry "if their mission is critical to national interest."
Government authorities on Tuesday also announced a partial lockdown of Khomas and Erongo regions, which will come into effect at 00:00 on Friday, March 27, until 00:00 (local time) on Thursday, April 16.
Additional containment measures include the closure of all bars and pubs at 18:00 daily for the next 14 days, as well as the suspension of parliament for 21 days as of Wednesday, March 25.
To date, there have been seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected.
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.
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.