Namibia, reeling under a new wave of COVID-19 infections, has postponed all non-urgent medical procedures, Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula said Wednesday.

The southwest African nation has seen a rapid increase in new infections, hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 since early December 2020.

Infections among health workers have also gone up sharply, with 1,350 infected and six losing their lives.

The rise in new cases and hospitalizations has placed increased pressure on the country’s health system and facilities, Shangula said.

Visitations to hospitalized patients are now limited to two close relatives per visit for a maximum period of 10 minutes, he said.

“The implementation of stricter public health measures is aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the community and stem the burden on our hospitals to ensure that the provision of essential health services is not disrupted,” the minister said.

According to Shangula, the average COVID-19 positivity ratio in Namibia stood at 4.7 percent between Oct. 26 and Nov. 22, 2020, but increased five-fold in the period between Dec. 28, 2020, and Jan. 3, 2021, to 24 percent.

During the past two weeks alone, 6,402 out of 26,191 tests have turned positive. Enditem

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