Namibia Central Bank Warns Against Lockdown Amid 3rd Covid Wave

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Namibia’s central bank governor warned that another lockdown would damage the economy and add to the government’s debt burden, even as a third wave of Covid-19 sweeps through the country.

The southwest African nation has already seen numerous jobs destroyed and businesses paralyzed as a result of the coronavirus, Johannes Gawaxab, Governor of the Bank of Namibia, told state media on Friday.

“We cannot afford another hard lockdown,” he said. “It will not be good for the economy.”

Gawaxab said the country’s debt would jump to 77% of gross domestic product by 2024 if current economic trends don’t change. The debt currently stands at 68.7% of GDP.

The country’s health ministry confirmed 717 new cases on Thursday -- a daily record. The increase indicates that the public is not strictly following infection prevention and control measures, Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula said Friday. Increased hospital admissions have placed the oxygen-supply infrastructure under pressure, the Health Ministry said.

Namibia began vaccinating against the coronavirus in March and has so far inoculated 4.5% of the 1.5 million people targeted as part of the program. Vaccine hesitancy and new variants are contributing to a third wave of infections as hospitalizations and deaths rise sharply.

“For the economy to recover we need successful vaccinations,” Gawaxab said. “We need investments and stability in the financial sector.”

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