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Namibia eases coronavirus restrictions to attract tourists

WINDHOEK, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Namibia has further eased restrictions for international tourists to try to prevent the collapse of a sector hit by the coronavirus pandemic after the country closed its borders in March.

The Tourism Ministry said on Tuesday tourists could go to their pre-booked destinations and take part in activities for up to five days, after which they will be tested for the virus.

If they stay at their pre-booked destination for less than five days they can proceed to another destination without a test.

In rules introduced in July, tourists had to quarantine at their first destination for seven days, which resulted in a large number of cancellations.

The tourism sector in the southwest African country has not seen any new bookings since the beginning of the month, leading to 115.7 million Namibian dollars ($6.85 million) in cancellations, the ministry estimates.

“This has necessitated a rethink in our approach. The tourism sector is highly competitive and Namibia is competing to attract tourists with countries from all over the world,” Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta said. (Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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