Health authorities have managed to clear the Covid-19 testing backlog, which stood at more than 4 000 two weeks ago, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula announced Friday.
By last week, the backlog was reduced to 1 300, with Shangula promising Covid-19 results will now be released within 24 hours. “This means that we should be able to clear the backlog within the next few days.
Thereafter, going forward, Covid-19 results will be released within a period of 24 hours.
This is an important breakthrough in our response and preparedness,” he said. On 1 July, the health ministry announced that there was a substantial backlog of laboratory results. Results announced at that time dated back to samples tested almost a week before that.
The ministry, however, started working on this matter together with the Namibian Institute of Pathology (NIP) to improve the situation. Shangula also noted positive developments have been observed when it comes to isolation and quarantine since government allowed for home isolation and quarantine where conditions allow.
He stated this has provided relief to those who chose and were able to effectively quarantine and isolate safely at home. As a result, he said, the government has seen a significant reduction in the number of persons quarantined and isolated in commercial facilities such as hotels, guesthouses and lodges.
“This is a positive development from the perspective of cost savings by the government,” he commended.
As far as Covid-19 testing capacity in the country is concerned, Shangula reported that additional capacity has been added in the form of a repurposed laboratory at the Central Veterinary Laboratory.
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The lab has provided its equipment, facilities and personnel to contribute to the national effort. Shangula reiterated the government’s position on safe burials for Covid-related deaths and posthumous swabbing of human remains.
On safe burial, he said, the ministry and other stakeholders expressed appreciation for the positive response and cooperation of the bereaved families and the society at large with respect to the conduct of safe burials.
However, he admitted there were and continues to be areas of concern with regard to this matter adding that they are working to ensure that these are ironed out.
This ensures dignified burials and an opportunity for families to grieve their loved ones. Furthermore, he said, its government’s commitment to ensure that no funeral should give rise to more funerals.
On posthumous re-swabbing of human remains, he reiterated, given the fact that Covid-19 is a notifiable infectious disease in terms of the law, the handling of human remains of those who succumb to it, or those remains that return positive results on the first posthumous swabbing, should be avoided.
“This is necessary for the protection of our frontline workers and the public at large.
In the same context, we call on the families of the deceased to continue cooperating with ministry officials on the matter of burials to avoid any delays so that the burials are carried out in compliance with the prescripts of public health imperatives, which the Ministry of Health and Social Services is obliged to enforce,” he stressed.