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SHELLEYGAN PETERSEN and CHARMAINE NGATJIHEUE
PRESIDENT Hage Geingob gives public and private sector workplaces the green-light to reserve entry to individuals who do not present vaccination passports.
He said this would be the best tactic to encourage vaccination.
Responding to questions at the 39th national Covid-19 briefing yesterday, Geingob said the fact that people are not showing vaccination cards upon entry at any public or private institution is a problem.
“When you were entering here, did you show something? You just walked in. That is the problem. It should start from here, from offices. Offices should not allow people who are not vaccinated to enter,” Geingob said.
The president said in Europe, shops and other places require vaccination cards upon entry, and local offices, ministries, and the private sector should follow suit.
“We are in a democracy and we do not want court cases,” he said
Geingob said State House was hard hit by Covid-19, starting from the top office, and also with serious cases in his security force, hence the importance of the mandatory showing of vaccination passports.
“The problem with Namibians is that you like to cry foul. Something in your own interest, somebody must beg you.
“I am not going to beg you. Why must I go through that, for your own safety and for the safety of the nation? Why must we play games with the lives of people? Why must I chase you around, like a child?
“People are dying, it is not propaganda. We are burying people, it is not a rumour, the facts are there,” Geingob said.
Geingob's comments come as companies like Letshego Namibia and Dis-Chem Pharmacies at Wernhil Park in Windhoek have implemented forced vaccination policies.
Geingob questioned what more would be needed to convince people of the need to get vaccinated, or did Namibians want a law to be passed so they could later complain that their rights are being trampled on. He reiterated that it was best for people to get vaccinated because it is for the common good of the country, and the world.
“Why must we have a mandate when the thing affects you, affects your family? Your loved ones are dying, they have died. We are burying people, it's not a joke.”
Meanwhile, justice minister Yvonne Dausab said vaccinations are considered to be voluntary but employees should approach the labour ministry to enquire about the steps they can take with regards to employers enforcing mandatory vaccination, as the Labour Act makes provision for various aspects.
“At the moment, vaccination is considered to be voluntary. This is the purview of the Ministry of Labour. The Labour Act makes provision for health and safety measures,” she said.
The vaccination issue has competing interests, namely the right of an individual to bodily integrity and to decide how they would like to conduct themselves and interact in society.
“Up to this point as the government, we have not forced anyone to get vaccinated but members of the public are quite disingenuous about how they react to the government's intention to protect the public good. But when people want to travel, they comply with those regulations in other jurisdictions,” Dausab noted.
Shangula announced new regulations which will commence from Sunday, 16 January, to 15 February.
The minister announced yesterday that fully vaccinated Namibians, permanent residents and truck drivers do not need to present a negative PCR test result upon entry into the country.
“The above mentioned categories of people can enter the country at any time with a valid and authentic vaccination card,” he said.
Other travellers, including truck drivers who are not fully vaccinated, must present a negative PCR Covid-19 test result within 72 hours from the time of the collection of the specimen.
Dausab also announced that they will no longer implement random testing, as it does not add any value to the pandemic response.
Public gatherings at burials and sporting events have a limit of 200 persons per event, with sufficient social distancing, while the country will not have a curfew.
The minister also said education institutions may commence operating at full capacity.