On March 14, Corona also reached Namibia. The test confirmed an infection with SARS-CoV-2 in two tourists in Windhoek. President Hage Geingob immediately took measures to protect the Namibians from an epidemic. He ordered to block the main flight connections to Europe.
Tourists were allowed to leave via the open flight routes, but were no longer allowed to enter the country. Their home countries also closed their borders unless they had already done so.
On March 17, Geingob declared a state of emergency so that the government is able to act quickly if necessary. Last week, a lockdown was imposed in the central regions of Khomas and Erongo.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services has now confirmed 13 infections. More on the development in Namibia in the news blog of our partner Bush Telegraph Namibia.
For Namibia and BüllsPort, the measures against COVID-19 are not only a bitter disappointment, but a considerable blow. The economy has been in recession for years. Add to that the severe drought.
This year promised a good travel season, that Namibia would have needed urgently to recover its economy. Instead, many companies are now about to fold, whether in tourism, retail or other sectors.
Hardly any help expected
Unfortunately, the government cannot provide significant rescue packages for the travel sector. Namibia is a developing country. The state budget is already severely restricted due to the recession and the drought.
A lot of money is now needed to prepare the hospitals specifically for a possible higher number of COVID-19 patients. The government also has to first grant financial aid to the many Namibians who have less income or even lose their jobs due to the lockdown.
Additional aid from the industrialised countries is not to be expected because amounts of billions have to be provided for their own economies. Namibia can count itself lucky if the existing development aid is not cut.
BüllsPort Lodge & Farm does everything to keep as many employees as possible, also being aware that each workplace supports eight- to ten-person families. This is not easy, without income from the hospitality business, especially since our farm operation has to recover from the severe drought.
Of course BüllsPort will survive also this crisis. The farm on the edge of the desert has been in existence for more than a century. Part of the sustainability of the operation is to build up reserves for periods of drought in good years.
However, the BüllsPort team is grateful for any support. A big thank you goes to all those tour operators and customers who rebook the planned stays.
And to those who cancel but do not request a refund of their deposit for the time being. It goes without saying that the amount remains as credit in the booking system – for the time after the travel restrictions have been lifted.
BüllsPort sends the customer a voucher as an assurance. It is transferable, so it can also be passed on to someone who is planning a trip to Namibia.
Should the customer not be able to redeem the voucher by the expiry date, BüllsPort will of course refund the amount – less 15 percent for processing and bank fees.
Naukluft mountains are waiting
The entire BüllsPort team expresses its sympathy to all those who have been looking forward to their Namibia trip for months and to whom Corona has caused a bitter disappointment.
But don’t worry: The Naukluft Mountains have been in their current location for millions of years and will not run away in the coming months.
The same applies to BüllsPort. The team is preparing for the time after Corona. And is working on a few specials, that compensate all Naukluft fans a little for waiting so patiently…
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