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World News

Namibia to close national parks until May 5, anti-poaching operations continue

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Namibia said all of its national parks will close from midnight on Friday until May 5 as it tightens measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus that has so far infected 16 people.

The country’s tourism industry has been the hardest hit following the outbreak of the virus, with about 126,000 jobs said to be at risk following travel restrictions imposed in March, said Minister of Environment Pohamba Shifeta.

Tour operations and guiding activities will not be allowed in the parks during the closure, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry said in a statement. Accommodation facilities will also be closed with the exception of those hosting stranded visitors.

Anti-poaching activities will continue, the ministry said.

“Those intending to take chances in this regard are therefore warned that the ministry, together with the law enforcement agencies, will be on full alert and ready to deal with any illegal activities within our national parks,” ministry spokesman Romeo Muyunda said.

President Hage Geingob said on Tuesday that Namibian borders will remain closed and a partial lockdown in force will be extended until May 4.

Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa; Editing by Mike Harrison

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