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The Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe, says the current circulation of COVID-19 in the country has not yet reached levels of concern.

However, despite this assessment, Nangombe advises the public to continue taking precautionary measures in order to prevent the further spread of the virus.

During the first week of May, there were 40 reported positive coronavirus cases.

The number increased to 62 in the second week and slightly decreased to 54 in the third week.

The Office of the Judiciary has recently issued a statement mandating that individuals entering any court building must wear a mask, sanitise their hands, and maintain a social distance of 1.5 metres.

However, according to Nangombe, there is currently no legal obligation for the general public to follow these guidelines.

"If there are institutions and entities that are practising these measures, then that is a good thing for the country, but as it currently stands, there are no gazetted regulations that are being enforced in that regard, so the wearing of masks and the requirements for people to adhere to the regulations are optional."

In reality, there has been an increase in the number of people wearing masks at public gatherings, and Nangombe attributes this to the prevailing weather conditions.

"We know that these flu-like illnesses tend to increase during the winter months when it is cold. We also saw that in previous years, we had incidences where the cases of COVID-19 tended to go up during the colder months, so be forewarned; we know what happened in the past, so it will be a good thing if our community members are able to take precautionary measures so that we don't see an increase in the number of cases. And yes, it will be a concern when the cases are going up, and for that reason, we want everybody to be our sisters and brothers' keepers to protect ourselves in order to protect the next person."

In the first week of May, the World Health Organisation announced that COVID-19 is no longer classified as a global health emergency.

"We have taken note of that declaration by the WHO, but be that as it may, we as a country have to implement the guidelines and recommendations of the WHO depending on the national context. If the national context in Namibia demands, for example, that we enforce stricter measures because the situation in the country demands it, then we will do that. If the national context demands that we relax further the interventions we are making in the country, we will do that."

Nangombe is urging individuals who have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated.

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Frances Shaahama