NAMIBIA has recorded 650 deaths linked to Covid-19 in the past month, and 281 deaths in the week from 20 to 27 June only due to Covid-19.
Meanwhile, Katutura Intermediate Hospital has created a waiting area for patients desperately in need of a hospital bed.
Namibia’s current daily new confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths per million people has surpassed that of South Africa (SA), India, Brazil and the United States (US).
This is according to the Johns Hopkins University’s Covid-19 data from yesterday’s seven-day average extracted from the university’s Covid-19 data repository.
This dashboard shows that Namibia currently records 648,87 positive cases per million people, whereas South Africa stands at 254,31 per million people.
Namibia is fifth in Africa in terms of the number of new infections per million people, and sixth in terms of deaths per million people.
Brazil, which has been battling the Gamma variant, is currently recording 331,11 positive cases per million people.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom (UK) saw its peak per million at 881,31 in early January, and the US around the same time recorded 753 positive cases per million people, while SA’s highest rate was 321,07.
This is despite the fact that Namibia’s testing and vaccine efforts are ahead of South Africa’s.
South Africa tested 0,9 people per 1 000 people, whereas Namibia tested 1,41 people per thousand on 23 June.
In terms of fully vaccinated citizens, Namibia leads with 0,91% of its population while 0,81% of South Africans have received their jabs.
Minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula on Friday told The Namibian that Namibia has only been able to identify the presence of the Beta variant in the country.
The Alpha variant of the virus was initially detected in the UK, the Beta variant in South Africa, Gamma in travellers from Brazil, and the Delta variant was discovered in India.
The Delta variant has been detected in 14 countries across Africa, including Botswana, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
Windhoek-based infectious disease specialist Dr Gordon Cupido believes the current wave of new infections should peak in the next week or two, while hospitalisation and deaths can be expected to peak by the third week or end of July.
Cupido and lung specialist Dr Willie Bruwer say a fourth wave could be expected at around early to mid-October.
“Beta should make Delta less contagious now. Immunity wanes after three to six months, which is when Gamma will strike,” Cupido yesterday said.
Due to being overwhelmed, Katutura Intermediate Hospital has converted its outpatient department into a designated holding and oxygenation area for patients waiting for bed availability and placement.
This was announced in a memorandum issued to staff members of the hospital yesterday by the medical superintendent of the Katutura hospital, Dr Nelago Amagulu.
Therefore, the hospital has suspended its outpatient services along with surgeries classified as not urgent.
As of last month, the national state referral hospitals, Windhoek Central Hospital and Katutura Intermediate Hospital, will no longer perform any operations unless they are urgent.
NO SINOPHARM, FEW ASTRAZENECA DOSES
Moreover, the country has completely run out of the first and second doses of the Chinese-manufactured Sinopharm, with the Ministry of Health and Social Services waiting for new arrivals next week.
Moreover, there were no first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at the various health facilities The Namibian called yesterday.
The country has received a total of 197 200 vaccine doses, of which 141 209 have been administered.
The cumulative number of people who have received a first dose stands at 112 773, and 22 285 have been fully vaccinated.
In a statement yesterday, executive director of health and social services Ben Nangombe said the ministry will continue to vaccinate as many people as possible with first vaccine doses, while the majority of second doses would be administered as soon as the next consignment is received next month.
“This is in accordance with the WHO’s guidance in the case of limited vaccine supply. It should be noted that the first dose of vaccines already offer some degree of protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death,” he said.
Namibia is procuring vaccines through various platforms, including the Covax facility, which is set to deliver 40 800 AstraZeneca vaccines early next month.
Namibia is also expecting another batch of 120 000 AstraZeneca vaccines through AstraZeneca Europe by mid-July.
Other vaccines expected in early July are 150 000 Sinopharm and 100 000 Sputnik Light vaccines from the Gamaleya Institute.
Namibia is also expecting 250 000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines from Avatt early in August.
Nangombe said Namibia is, however, yet to acquire information on exactly how many doses it is set to receive, and that this would trigger the process of paying for vaccines.
He said global vaccine supply has been a challenge despite the country having entered into a committed purchase agreement with the Covax facility, provided a financial guarantee and reserved funding for doses.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that Africa needs at least 20 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses within the next six weeks to get a second round of shots to people who’ve already received their first.
Despite progress, just over 1% of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated and needs another 200 million doses of any cleared Covid-19 vaccines to vaccinate 10% of the continent by September.