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Namibia suspends mining operations as coronavirus lockdown takes effect

Namibia on Saturday ordered mining companies to cease operations for three weeks as the country entered its first day of a partial lockdown, and stepped up measures to curb coronavirus infections which currently stand at eight people. 

Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo said in a statement mining activities should be discontinued during the lockdown, which lasts until April 16. 

The sector generates around 50% of the small southern African nation’s export revenue, contributing 9.3% to gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, and is key to reversing the recent recession driven by a sharp decline in primary production. 

Namibia, with a population just under three million, has yet to record any coronavirus deaths, but has acted quickly to curb its spread, this week banning travel from all countries, restricting social movement, and ordering most people to work from home. 

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