Namibian Health Minister Urges Calm Amid Respiratory Infections Surge in China

Windhoek – Namibian Health and Social Services Minister Kalumbi Shangula has called for public calm in response to the recent surge of respiratory infections in China. Addressing a press conference in Windhoek, Shangula reassured that Namibia is not currently at risk.

According to Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA), Shangula noted that since November 22, 2023, China has experienced an increase in respiratory diseases, particularly among children. However, Namibia’s COVID-19 and influenza surveillance activities have not detected any rise in respiratory infections, hospitalizations, or deaths related to these illnesses. The Chinese authorities attribute the surge to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, the onset of the cold season in the northern hemisphere, and the circulation of known pathogens like influenza, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and SARS-CoV-2.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) does not currently recommend specific measures for travelers to China. “The increase in respiratory infection cases does not constitute a public health threat, so there is no cause for alarm,” Shangula emphasized. The Namibian Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the situation and conduct regular surveillance of respiratory pathogens and infections.

Shangula advised travelers experiencing respiratory symptoms to seek medical attention and inform their healthcare providers of their travel history. Aligning with WHO guidance, the Namibian Government advises against implementing travel or trade restrictions based on the current information about the situation in China.