Namibia extends partial coronavirus lockdown until May 4

WINDHOEK (Reuters) – Namibian borders will remain closed and a partial lockdown in force for a further two-and-a-half weeks until May 4 as part of new strict measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, President Hage Geingob said on Tuesday.

The sparsely populated southwest African country of under 3 million people has 16 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with no report of new infections for the past week. Several countries in the region have announced lockdowns.

Mining operations, which make up half of Namibia’s export revenue, have been suspended pending the lockdown.

Informal trading and open markets will still be allowed to operate subject to strict hygiene, social distancing and limits to the number of people who can gather.

Geingob said in a televised address to the nation that the current lockdown, which took effect on March 27 and was due to come to an end this Thursday at midnight, has been extended to midnight on 4 May 2020.

“The pandemic we face today is unprecedented, but I am confident that by working collaboratively, we will respond effectively to minimize the spread of the virus … and restart our economic activities,” he said.

The Namibian government last week announced an 8.1 billion Namibian dollar ($478,000) economic stimulus package in a bid to minimize the impact of COVID-19, the lung disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa; Editing by Mark Heinrich; Editing by Tim Cocks

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