Omicron is also in Namibia. This was announced by President Hage Geingob and Minister of Health, Kalumbi Shangula, at a media conference in the morning. Accordingly, the newly discovered variant of the corona virus SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 18 of 19 samples from corona infected people.
Incidence increased dramatically
It is probably no coincidence that the infection rate suddenly increases sharply. 695 new infections were registered between 1 and 5 December, said Shangula. More than three quarters of the cases are from the Khomas region, thus Windhoek with its commuter towns Okahandja and Rehoboth.
The 7 day incidence increased from 3.0 to 18.0 within a week. According to initial findings, Omikron is much more contagious than the previously prevalent Delta variant. So far, however, there have not been significantly more hospitalisations.
Appeal to get vaccinated
Shangula appealed to all Namibians’ self-responsibility for following government measures to prevent the virus from spreading. Above all, one should get vaccinated. The rate of fully vaccinated people is still below 20%.
Geingob denounced the lack of willingness to vaccinate which caused that 150,000 doses of vaccine, some donated and some bought, had to be destroyed after they had passed the expiry date. At the same time, he emphasised that the government was now encouraging booster vaccinations.
No new measures were announced. However, the development is being monitored very closely, Geingob stressed. Further steps will be taken as soon as this becomes necessary. The next COVID-19 briefing is scheduled for 15 December.
The summer holidays are currently starting in Namibia. Many Namibians who work in the cities visit their families in the north or in other rural areas. Many also travel to the cooler coast.
Competence in South Africa and Namibia
Geingob condemned the steps of many states to seal off themselves from southern Africa as damaging and showing a lack in solidarity. At the same time, he and Shangula praised the contribution of South African scientists to the international fight against the pandemic.
The scientific report on Omicron in Namibia [PDF link], including genome sequencing, was a German-Namibian team work, involving the medical institute of the University of Namibia, the Research Center Borstel and the Robert Koch Institute as well as the Namibia Institute of Pathology, PathCare Namibia and DiagnoLab Namibia.