By Costa Nkomo/Agencies
NAMIBIA President Hage Geingob Saturday suspended the country’s Independence Celebrations which had been scheduled for March 21, 2020 because of two confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Namibia becomes the third southern African country after South Africa and Swaziland to officially confirm cases of the deadly coronavirus.
In a statement Saturday, Geingob confirmed the coronavirus had been recorded in Namibia, adding, the budget reserved independence celebrations would be diverted to fight the coronavirus.
“The Minister of Health announced this morning that there are two confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Namibian soil.
The health of Namibians is the first priority. Appropriate precautionary measures must be taken to protect Namibians from being affected by this virus,” the President said.
“The independence celebrations that were scheduled for Independence Stadium are called off. However, the swearing in ceremony will take place at State House. The financial outlay for Independence Celebrations will be diverted to the fight against the Coronavirus.”
He added: “The Namibian government is suspending inbound and outbound travel to and from Qatar, Ethiopia and Germany with immediate effect for a period of 30 days. All big gatherings are suspended for a period of 30 days.
“Lockdown of Windhoek Gymnasium with immediate effect for a period of two weeks. Suspension of all travels by Namibian government officials, including State Owned Enterprises.”
Meanwhile, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on Twitter Saturday that the coronavirus had claimed 5 000 lives across the globe.
“5,000 people have lost their lives to #COVID19 – this is a tragic milestone. Europe has now become the epicentre of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China.”