By Amanda Xoagus – Windhoek, Namibia, Saturday, May 30, 2020.
The Namibian government was instrumental in the repatriation of 182 Zimbabweans to their native country after spending 73 days at sea, National Telegraph has been told.
The Zimbabweans were part of a group of Africans and Asians working onboard a cruise ship that also facilitated and bore the cost of their repatriation amid the deadly COVID-19 outbreak.
An emotional Zimbabwean Ambassador to Namibia, Rofina Chikava, couldn’t hide her relief when the group mostly consisting of young people was received at the Walvis International Airport, early Friday, May 29, 2020. The diplomat was overwhelmed her native passengers could finally go home.
“They are coming from the United States, Florida and we are relieved that their employers made sure they arrived safely. We also want to thank Namibia for allowing them to make use of the port of Walvis as well as Air Namibia for carrying them home, Chikava said.
Namport commercial executive, Immanuel Hanabe in a press briefing told journalists that the authorities met all the conditions, and hence the Zimbabweans could be allowed to be repatriated.
“The principal approvals were received from the Ministry of International Affairs and Corporation and the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) following bilateral discussions between Zimbabwe and Namibia to undertake the repatriation exercise, that was done with two flights,” he said.
At least 7 Namibians were also on the vessel and are currently under quarantine. Authorities are currently dealing with two positive Coronavirus cases.
Namibia now has 23 confirmed COVID-19 cases with zero death. Zimbabwe stands at 149 with 4 deaths in a pandemic that has globally infected close to 6 million people with 364 thousand deaths.