The announcement this week by President Hage Geingob that Namibia will graduate from the second stage of the Covid-19 State of Emergency to stage three at midnight on Monday (1 June) presents many positive realities yet at the same time should never be met with complacency from all progressive Namibians.
This week, President Geingob announced that all 14 regions, with the exception of the Walvis Bay Local Authority Area which has recorded new cases this past week, will transit from stage two to more moderate precautions under stage three, until 29 June 2020, for a period of 28 days or two incubation periods.
While this is a welcome move that also comes at the right time when Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi has just tabled his maiden N$72.8 million budget; we are in full agreement with government that has made it clear that a relaxation in restrictions does not imply the disappearance of Covid-19 from our midst. To the contrary, reduced restrictions demand heightened personal vigilance and greater responsibility on individuals, communities and institutions, alike.
In the region and beyond, we have seen how the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions has led to a rapid increase in cases. If this was to happen for Namibia, it would perhaps regress a majority of the gains that have already been harnessed by the responsible authorities who have worked tirelessly to contain cases to only 22.
The need for greater vigilance and the continued to adherence to sanitary directives is acerbated by the reality that under lockdown level three, sheebens and bars can now operate from 12h00 to 18h00 between Monday and Saturday and consequently alcohol will be consumed in private dwellings. Despite the fact that no alcohol sale is allowed on Sundays and public holidays and also that nightclubs and casinos will not be allowed to operate, the danger of people being complacent with basic things such as wearing masks in public spaces also becomes high.