By Amanda Xoagus – Windhoek, Namibia, Sunday, May 31, 2020.
Two Namibians that were part of an eight-member crew on board a vessel that delivered salt and fish in the Democratic Republic of Congo last month have tested positive for COVID-19, National Telegraph can confirm.
Minister of Health and Social Services, Kalumbi Shangula on Sunday, May 31, 2020, said one is in the intensive care unit on a ventilator, but in a stable condition. While the other crew member is in stable condition.
“The vessel departed from Walvis Bay on 25 April and arrived in DRC on 30 April. It is reported that all crew members did not disembark the vessel in DRC. However Congolese nationals entered the vessel most likely to assist with the offloading of the goods,” the Minister said on Sunday.
He added that the vessel returned to Walvis Bay on 5 May, with the first crew member testing positive on 23 May, after he experienced difficulty in breathing and was admitted to a private hospital.
“Specimens were collected from all crew as per our testing protocol. The samples were sent to the Namibia Institute of Pathology for testing. Only two tests came back positive. The rest of the crew members are still negative and in quarantine,” he said.
Shangula also explained that Namibia’s testing protocol states that all contacts of confirmed cases should be tested immediately once they are put in quarantine and again towards the end of the quarantine period.
“Therefore, the remaining crew will also be tested again,” Shangula explained.
Both cases are being treated at the coastal town of Walvis Bay, a well-known mining and fishing economic hub of the country.
The first case of Walvis Bay is that of a cross-border truck driver that was also delivering essential goods in a neighboring country.
As a result, the town and its inhabitants have been placed on total lockdown until Thursday while the rest of the country moves to stage three that will see the country systematically restarting its economy.
Namibia currently has 24 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 14 recoveries and 10 active cases. A total of 3,680 people were tested of which 686 are in mandatory quarantine facilities.