Namibian President Hage Geingob said that the government will not do anything to compromise the health of the Namibian people despite the widespread concerns about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Geingob was speaking at the COVID-19 Public Briefing on 3 February 2021 in Windhoek.

Below is the president’s speech:

“Good Afternoon, Fellow Namibians.

I have christened the year 2021 “The Year of Resilience”. Yesterday, during the Official Opening of the first Cabinet meeting for the year, I stated that this year is going to be pivotal and will require a collective effort, for the development of our nation and betterment of our society.

As we resume the demands of schooling and work obligations for the year after the holiday season, we do so under a completely different set of circumstances, which we have come to accept as our “New Normal”. The Coronavirus pandemic has not only disrupted the economy and livelihoods across the country; it has also profoundly altered our shared social and behavioural norms.

These are the realities of our time and we must remain adaptable, to combat the pandemic. I share the pain and anguish experienced by so many of our People, whose lives have been lost or forever altered by the impact of this invisible enemy. Let us continue to demonstrate solidarity and compassion towards one another, during these challenging times.

I commend the Namibian people, who have complied with the measures imposed on them, even during the festive season.

Of course there are some instances of people trying to circumvent the measures but overall, the majority of you have maintained unity, vigilance and discipline.  This collective effort enabled us to withstand a Second Wave of COVID-19 and by adhering to the Regulations, helped to save many lives.

Fellow Namibians,

Cabinet has begun working to ensure that the most vulnerable citizens will soon get access to much-needed and sought-after vaccines, beginning with frontline workers and our most vulnerable citizens. Namibia is a member of the COVAX facility and we have further approached friendly countries to support our efforts to access reliable and affordable vaccines.

I am aware that there is much public suspicion and apprehension around the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. Rest assured that the Government will not do anything to compromise the health of our People.

I therefore implore all Namibians to avail themselves for the vaccine, as and when it becomes available. The Minister of Health will provide a more detailed update on the implementation of the COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign.

I convened today’s Public Briefing, to provide the latest developments and outline Measures for the next dispensation and not to ‘lock you down’, as many have been expecting. As you may be aware, the current Regulations will expire at 23h59 tonight, 03 February 2021.

The status quo will be maintained and extended for a period of 21 days, from 04 February to 24 February 2021. With regards to the Restriction of Movement, Curfew hours will be adjusted to begin at 22h00 and end at 05h00, daily. I commend our men and women in uniform who have worked exceptionally hard to enforce these regulations.

The responsibility remains upon every citizen to maintain hand-hygiene by washing and sanitizing of hands; to wear a face mask in public, and to maintain social and physical distancing. These are the most secure preventative measures against the spread of this disease.

In Closing,

The New Year brings new hope, optimism and faith for the future that lies ahead of us.  Thus, the Year of Resilience must be defined by a collective approach to defeating this pandemic, by rebuilding our economy and by returning our lives back to normalcy.

Let us remain steadfast, to combat this invisible enemy.

I would like to use this opportunity to fulfill my twitter promise and give a “shout out” to Mr. Jimmy Shapwa who managed to get 150 retweets, to convince me to mention him in my next speech.  Jimmy, I hope you and all Namibians continue to wash your hands, social distance and wear your face masks.

Thank you.”