Namibia’s President Hage Geingob has said his country is facing a “dark and sombre moment” as coronavirus deaths and cases rapidly increase.
Addressing the nation, he said that 513 Namibians had died in the last 15 days as a result of the virus and cases have trebled since the beginning of June.
With a population of just 2.5 million this represents one of the worst death rates on the continent.
Introducing new restrictions, including stopping movement between the country’s regions, Mr Geingob said that things were likely to continue to get worse until mid-August at the earliest.
Speaking after the president, Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula said the country was “literally in an existential struggle… we are in a fight for our very lives”.
He described a stretched health service and said that the country’s mortuaries “have reached maximum capacity”.
The minister announced that more intensive care beds were being prepared and steps had been taken to boost the country’s purified oxygen supply.
Rounding off his message, President Geingob urged people to co-operate with the new measures and insisted the nation would overcome the crisis.