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National parks in Namibia still open to tourists

RUNDU, 31 March 2020, TON:  The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, says national parks are open for business despite the Covid-19, which prompted President Hage Geingob to issue a directive to all government workers and the private sector to operate from home for the next 14 days, except those providing essential services such as food retail shops.

“Our staff are also taking measures to stay safe; park rangers are also listed under critical services, so they are on duty in our parks to look into issues of security when it comes to poaching,” he said.

“So, those people or poachers that are thinking we are going to overlook security should be warned our parks will be patrolled as we always do. So, poaching and related dealings are still a risky business for those perpetrators involved, as our park rangers are busy at work,” he continued. Muyunda stated that all office staff are attending to work from home but highlighted that park rangers are on duty and are still monitoring the situation as well as seeing who is visiting the parks.

“If there’s any risk at all, then we will make a decision but for now, our parks are fully operational; the same measures that are being implemented anywhere else around our country, like when entering the shop or facility you get sanitised at the entrance, we are doing that,” he said.

“We have staff members who are explaining the importance of using or spraying hands with sanitisers to visitors and also just to share important information to visitors whenever they are visiting our parks; we encourage them to alert the authorities whenever they feel the symptoms of Covid-19,” he added.

The parks are still open for business for people who still want to visit, noting that perhaps some tourists are still in the country. “We are following all the measures that were put in place by the state – no gatherings of more than 10 people – in addition to all the other activities that were discouraged and other preventative measures. But in most cases, it is business as usual at the parks,” he said.

Namibia has 20 national parks from Bwabwata National Park in Kavango East, Etosha National Park in Kunene region, Khaudum National Park in Kavango East, Mangetti National Park in Kavango West and Mudumu National Park in Zambezi, along with Nkasa Rupara National Park, to name a few.

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