Namibia scraps masks, PCR test requirements as Covid-19 cases fall

WINDHOEK, Namibia – The wearing of masks in public in Namibia and negative PCR tests for vaccinated visitors are no longer required, President Hage Geingob said on Tuesday, as active Covid-19 cases fall to just a couple of hundred.

Infections peaked at more than 30,000 per month in June 2021 but the southern African country has averaged 14 cases per day during the last seven days, with the total active cases at 222.

“Wearing of masks in public places is no longer mandatory,” Geingob said in a televised briefing. People in closed spaces such as on public transport or in indoor public meetings were however encouraged to wear masks.

Fully vaccinated travellers to Namibia are also no longer required to produce negative PCR test results. Travellers to the country, famed for its stark desert-meets-ocean-landscape and safari drives, are now only allowed to produce a valid vaccination card at points of entry.

Visitor numbers are currently at a third of pre-pandemic levels, according to Geingob.

Only 21.4 percent of Namibia’s eligible population of 1.7 million people have been fully vaccinated. The recommended population coverage to achieve national herd immunity is 60 percent.

Last Friday, Kenya lifted its remaining Covid-19 restrictions, including a ban on large indoor gatherings such as religious services and a requirement to present a negative Covid-19 test for arriving air passengers.

Though Kenyans should continue heeding public health measures such as handwashing and social distancing, face masks are no longer mandatory in public and all quarantine measures for confirmed Covid-19 cases are halted with immediate effect, Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said.

For the past month the East African country’s Covid-19 test positivity rate has remained below 1 percent, he added, attributing this to the rising number of Kenyans opting to get vaccinated.

Meanwhile the United Kingdom is set to end all coronavirus border restrictions, reopening frictionless travel for the first time in nearly two years.

Travellers arriving in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 4AM on Friday will no longer need to fill out a passenger locator form, and unvaccinated people will not need to take a coronavirus test before departing for the UK and after their arrival.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the changes were thanks to the UK’s vaccine programme and would mean “greater freedom in time for Easter”.

“The UK is leading the world in removing all remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions,” he said.

Enjoyed this post? Share it!