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Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Total number of coronavirus test results received by Swaziland Ministry of Health tops 320

The Swaziland (eSwatini) Health Ministry has received 324 results of coronavirus tests sent to South Africa in total since 15 March 2020.

The information has dribbled out from the Swaziland Government through press briefings and social media posts. The Ministry of Health has not announced a running total of cases, causing confusion in the kingdom.

The total of 324 was announced in social media posts as follows: 15 March (12); 19 March (32); 20 March (27); 21 March (37); 23 March (62); 26 March (74); 31 March (80).

The population of Swaziland is about 1.3 million.

No information has been released about which individuals are being tested and why. The Ministry of Health had said that some samples sent to South Africa were not tested because they were not from people who had travelled or had been in close contact with positive patients.

The numbers in the Ministry of Health briefings are only those tested and analysed through the Ministry of Health. It is not recorded how many others may have been tested.

It was reported in news media that King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland, was in self-isolation and that some of his children who had returned to the kingdom after studying abroad had been tested. It is not known if these were included in the Ministry of Health statistics.

Nine people have tested positive, according to Ministry of Health figures. It has not reported any deaths.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Swaziland Ministry of Health only tests 80 of 1.3 million population for coronavirus

Only 80 people from the total population of 1.3 million people appear to have been tested for coronavirus through the Swaziland (eSwatini) Ministry of Health. 

Minister Lizzie Nkosi told a press briefing on Tuesday (31 March 2020) that a total of 80 tests had been sent by the Ministry of Health to neighboring South Africa for analysis. So far, nine people had been diagnosed as positive. She said 15 of the tests had not been dealt with. She had previously said that was because ‘priority for testing is being given to people who have travelled or have been in close contact with positive patients’.

She also asked people to prepare isolation rooms in their homes for relatives who had recently returned from coronavirus high risk countries. She said this was to ensure other family members were not exposed.

Elsewhere, Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Peter Bhembe announced that petrol and paraffin prices would decrease by 100 cents per litre and diesel prices would decrease by 80 cents per litre, effective Friday, 3 April, 2020.

The commercial city of Manzini was reportedly in chaos on Monday after new regulations restricting public transport to early mornings and late afternoons came into force. The eSwatini Observer reported 5,000 people were left stranded. 

Children of King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland, were placed in isolation for 14 days when they returned to the kingdom after studying at schools and universities abroad. They have been tested for coronavirus and await the results.

Below are details of the people who have tested positive for the coronavirus. They were released by the Swaziland Ministry of Health on Tuesday.





CLARIFICATION: The total number of test results received by the Ministry of Health since 15 March 2020 was 324. See here https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/04/total-number-of-coronavirus-test.html


See also

More than 40 arrested in Swaziland for defying coronavirus lockdown during first weekend
Swaziland Govt publishes coronavirus regulations
New offence of spreading coronavirus rumours in Swaziland carries possible five years jail time

Monday, 30 March 2020

More than 40 arrested in Swaziland for defying coronavirus lockdown during first weekend

At least 41 people from across Swaziland (eSwatini) were arrested for not obeying the coronavirus lockdown during its first weekend.

Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati said nine had been charged under the Coronavirus Regulations just issued, three were arrested using the Disaster Management Act and the rest were charged under the Liquor Act. 

Some paid an ‘admission of guilt fine’ that ranged between E120 and E500 and others were due to appear in magistrates court on Monday (30 March 2020). Most of those were arrested after bottle stores were not closed at stipulated times. Bars have been closed completely.

New regulations were published on Saturday after Swaziland was placed on a partial lockdown for 20 days. The kingdom was already under a state of emergency.

On Monday Swazi Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi told a press briefing there had been no new cases reported of coronavirus in Swaziland. The total reported so far is nine. There have been no deaths. She said tests had been sent to neighboring South Africa for analysis but some had been rejected because, ‘priority for testing is being given to people who have travelled or have been in close contact with positive patients.’

She added, ‘Government has hired 145 nurses and six doctors and will also be opening four more clinics at Lundzi, Mkhwakhweni, Zindwendweni and Maphalaleni to strengthen the country’s capacity to fight COVID-19. We are expecting that this week we should be able to add 110 nurses and nine doctors.’

The Ministry of Health is to test pupils and staff at a school in the Hhohho Region for coronavirus after a teacher tested positive. They have been asked to self-isolate until results are known.

Meanwhile, the government has received a donation of E4.5 million for the coronavirus fund from members of Business Eswatini

On Sunday Minister of Public Works Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe announced that public transport would only be allowed operate from 5am to 9am and then again from 3pm to 7pm for the duration of the lockdown.

See also

Swaziland Govt publishes coronavirus regulations
New offence of spreading coronavirus rumours in Swaziland carries possible five years jail time
Swaziland coronavirus partial lockdown Day1 – P.M. statement
King puts Swaziland into partial lockdown in bid to beat coronavirus. Army and police on standby
 
Swaziland King declares state of emergency over coronavirus. Schools closed, foreign travel suspended

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Swaziland Govt publishes coronavirus regulations


The Swaziland (eSwatini) Government has published the full Coronavirus COVID-19 Regulations – click here to download http://www.gov.sz/images/CORONA/The-Coronavirus-COVID-19-Regulations-2020.pdf

See also
New offence of spreading coronavirus rumours in Swaziland carries possible five years jail time

LEGAL NOTICE NO: 72 OF 2020
THE DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT
(Act No. 1 of 2006)
THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) REGULATIONS, 2020
(Under section 43)
In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 43 of the Disaster Management, 2006, the Deputy Prime Minister makes the following Regulations-
ARRANGEMENT OF REGULATIONS
PART I
PRELIMINARY PROVISIONS
1. Citation and Commencement.
2. Interpretation.
PART II
COUNTERING CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
3. Prevention of spread of Covid -19.
4. Compulsory notification on suspected cases.
5. Screening of persons.
6. Test samples for Covid-19.
7. Notification on development of symptoms.
8. Isolation for asymptomatic person.
9. Isolation for symptomatic person.
10. Steps upon examination.
11. Measures for defined geographic area.
12. Refusal of medical examination, treatment, isolation and quarantine.
13. Refusal to cooperate with enforcement officer.
14. Places of quarantine and isolation.
PART III
INTERNAL AND CROSS-BORDER TRAVEL
15. Internal Travel.
16. Cross –Border Travel.
PART IV
CONSUMER PROTECTION
17. Interpretation.
18. Price control.
19. Unfair practices.
20. Supply of Goods.
21. Restriction and prohibition on sale of liquor.
22. Restriction on restaurants.
23. Essential industries.
24. Offence

Friday, 27 March 2020

Swaziland coronavirus partial lockdown Day1 – P.M. statement

Day 1 of Swaziland’s coronavirus partial lockdown. Statement form Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini.

GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI

PRIME MINISTER’S STATEMENT 
PARTIAL LOCKDOWN UPDATE – COVID-19

Today the Kingdom of Eswatini joined the rest of the world and more than 2.5 billion people globally to observe a partial lockdown and, for others, a full lockdown - to combat a common enemy, the coronavirus. This is unchartered territory for the Kingdom and the world, a time when our resolve and collective effort to control the spread of a virus that has gained unsavoury reputation is put to the test.

The partial lockdown that has been effected across the country today is a necessary step towards containing the spread of this evidently stubborn coronavirus. Clearly it brings to the fore a lot of inconveniences never experienced before, hurts business and our economy, deters the free movement of people and in extension spreads a lot of anxiety and panic among the populace.

However, we can learn from the experiences of other countries which have felt the brunt of this pandemic over the past months. We can also draw advice from medical experts who insist that limiting the movement of people and staying at home, presents us with the best chance of saving lives and stopping an uncontrollable spread which can quickly reach all corners of the Kingdom.

The measures announced on Monday are now in full force and we expect all EmaSwati and residents of this country to fully comply and abide by them without exception. The irresponsible actions of a few can put all of us in danger. The cost to our economy is high but the health and safety of citizens is paramount.

Currently Eswatini has eight confirmed coronavirus cases and more tests are still pending. The rising number of positive cases is a cause for concern and an indication that we have no option but to be more attentive, tolerant and receptive to all the control and prevention measures that have been put in place.

May I remind EmaSwati that the measures being implemented for the next 20 days include suspending all unnecessary travel within cities, towns, communities and beyond, except for instances of providing or acquiring essential services such as healthcare, food, or banking services. All gatherings of more than 20 people are prohibited. Gatherings that meet this requirement are expected to observe proper hygiene standards and social distancing of 1-2 metres is followed, among others.

Borders are closed for non essential travel. Only goods and cargo as well as returning citizens and legal residents are allowed movement through the borders. Government will ensure that all essential goods and services continue to be available in the country over the partial lockdown period.  Returning citizens and residents are reminded that they will be subjected to mandatory 14 days quarantine at designated locations except for those who are able to self-isolate. More specifically, may I strongly advise citizens returning from South Africa and other high risk countries to immediately self quarantine for 14 days without exception. During the self quarantine they should avoid physical contact with family members and stay alone in well ventilated rooms.

Government has instructed employers to allow as many as possible employees to work from home. Over the week, several Ministers offered guidelines of what is expected from both employers and employees for the duration of this partial lockdown period.  Essential businesses should continue operating at full strength with proper adherence to hygiene standards and all the relevant measures of social distancing that will protect employees from the pandemic. A list of essential services has already been published by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade and includes health, banking, security, energy, water services, media and others. The full list is available in the Government website or you can call the free toll number 8001002.

Businesses that are not included in the list of essential services are expected to scale down their operations and, most importantly, meet the appropriate health and hygiene standards, failing which they risk closure. We continue to engage business to cushion the effects of this partial lockdown on their businesses, and more especially, to ensure full compliance to the partial lockdown measures.
Government continues to engage all other relevant sectors as we implement the response strategies to this pandemic. This also includes Parliament.

I am happy to report that Parliament has passed Coronavirus regulations that will enforce adherence to both the National Emergency declaration actions and the partial lockdown measures. Security forces are already on the ground ensuring compliance with the regulations and have the powers to disperse gatherings of more than 20 people and enforce processes that will lead to litigation of defaulters. Chiefs, traditional authorities and community police will lead the way in ensuring total compliance in communities.

Government has completed setting up the necessary structures to fast track implementation of the National Response to the outbreak of the COVID 19. These structures which include the Inter-Ministerial Emergency Management Committee, National Emergency Task Force and the Technical working group have already started intervening on behalf of government. Regional Administration Offices have also activated regional disaster management teams to the lowest level of administration to raise awareness on coronavirus and improve preparedness and prevention of the scourge. Together with the security forces, these committees have made a network across the country that is well coordinated.

Regional Administrators are working with Chiefs and traditional authorities to raise awareness at community level as well as to protect families from contracting the virus. The Resource mobilization Committee has started receiving donations for the National Response. These resources are being put into good use. Hand washing facilities have been provided to most municipalities and to key government institutions.

Delivery of important health equipment and material is continuing and more orders have been placed to meet the need.  

Government through the Ministry of Health continues to respond the COVID 19 outbreak through the implementation of a Health response plan.

Surveillance of the condition has been boosted by the recruitment of more officers in the environmental health sector who shall continue manning ports of entry including working together with the security forces. Thermal scanners have been added and more are still awaited to ensure adequate coverage.

The Ministry of Health is intensifying contact tracing to provide information on the cases to be followed and monitor the development of symptoms to inform need for testing. Training of health care workers who are in the frontline is ongoing. This partial lockdown is very essential to break the transmission of the virus. Disruption of the spread of the virus will go a long way into defeating this global pandemic.

It is therefore crucial to re-emphasize the need to adhere to restrictions of the partial lockdown particularly with reference to limiting movement to only essential travel. Every citizen and resident is urged to abide by the measures to ensure that the country contains the spread of the virus. We must acknowledge the thousands of citizens who have taken these restrictions in their stride.

May I also take this opportunity to emphasize that His Majesty King Mswati III has declared tomorrow, Saturday 28 March 2020, a fasting day and Sunday, a National Prayer day.  We expect all EmaSwati across all faiths to join in the fasting and prayer as we seek the guidance of the Almighty God to help us sail through this challenge faced by the nation and the world. It is through prayer that God protects us from all challenges. The Book of Philippians 4:6-7 tells that, “Be anxious for nothing, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need with a thankful heart: and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” May I thank Their Majesties for leading the charge to come closer to God.

This pandemic has presented us with the opportunity to act in common purpose in order to protect each other as EmaSwati, but not to panic. It is not the time to spread false information on social media. We have no reason to panic if we are responsible and follow all the guidelines as provided for by Government and the World Health Organisation.

As we observe the partial lockdown and restrict unnecessary movement and stay at home, let us remember to follow the precautionary guidelines as provided by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation. These include:
  • Our home environment should be kept clean and safe and all high touch surfaces must be disinfected regularly.
  • Wash hands with running water and soap or use alcohol based sanitisers.
  • Stop shaking hands and use other non touch methods of greeting.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1 metre from each other.
  • Avoid touching your face (mouth, nose, eyes) and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Take care of the vulnerable, especially senior citizens and those with underlying respiratory conditions who are more susceptible to the coronavirus infection.
  • If you experience flu like symptoms (fever, difficulty breathing, cough, high temperature) visit your nearest health centre facility or call the Emergency Medical Services Toll free line 977.
Thank you.

Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini
PRIME MINISTER
27 March 2020
See also

New offence of spreading coronavirus rumours in Swaziland carries possible five years jail time

New offence of spreading coronavirus rumours in Swaziland carries possible five years jail time

Swaziland (eSwatini) has created a new offence of spreading rumours or ‘unauthentic information’ about the coronavirus (COVID-19) which carries a fine of E20,000 or up to five years imprisonment.

The Swazi Minister of Justice Pholile Shakantu made the announcement on Friday (27 March 2020) as the kingdom ruled by absolute monarch King Mswati III started a 20-day partial lockdown.

Shakantu announced at a press conference the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Regulations 2020 issued under S43 of the Disaster Management Act of 2006 and approved by Parliament.

Shakantu also said, ‘The business sector is also cautioned against unfair practices including the hiking of prices especially on items considered essential at this time. Such person or business may face a fine not exceeding E500,000 (US$28,000).’

At the same press conference the Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Dr Simon Zwane said there were now nine confirmed cases of coronavirus cases in Swaziland. There had been no deaths.

Dr Zwane also said, ‘Government has been working with partners to conduct massive training for health workers in the area of COVID-19 response and case management. In total, 1,007 nurses have been trained on COVID-19. A total of 3,022 Rural Health Motivators (RHM) have been trained.’

He said there would be restrictions placed on patients at hospital. ‘Accompanying of patients seeking out-patient services will be limited to one person per patient. Hospital visiting hours for in-patients have now been reduced to twice per day and limited to only two visitors per patient.’

Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini said, ‘The rising number of positive cases is a cause for concern and an indication that we have no option but to be more attentive, tolerant and receptive to all the control and prevention measures that have been put in place.’

He also said the government would ensure that all essential goods and services continued to be available during the partial lockdown. 

He ‘strongly advised’ people returning to Swaziland from South Africa and other high risk countries to immediately self-quarantine for 14 days ‘without exception.’

Dlamini added, ‘The measures being implemented for the next 20 days include suspending all unnecessary travel within cities, towns, communities and beyond, except for instances of providing or acquiring essential services such as healthcare, food, or banking services.’

He said, ‘The measures are now in full force and we expect all EmaSwati [Swazi people] to fully comply and abide by them without exception. The irresponsible actions of a few can put all of us in danger. The cost to our economy is high but the health and safety of citizens is paramount.’

He added, ‘Government has instructed employers to allow as many as possible employees to work from home.’ 

He said, ‘Essential businesses should continue operating at full strength with proper adherence to measures that will protect employees while those not included in the list are expected to scale down their operations and meet the appropriate standards, failing which they risk closure.’

Elsewhere, public transport would now only run in the early morning and the late afternoon, Chairman of the National Road Transportation Council Sihlangu Nhlabatsi announced on Thursday


He said vehicles would have to observe the government’s directive involving the social distance of one metre between passengers; disinfection of vehicles and sanitisation of passengers at all times.


On Friday, Sports, Culture and Youth Minister Harries Bulunga announced the suspension of all forms of sport in the kingdom, including social sport.

The Eswatini Stock Exchange announced it would be closed from Friday until 15 April.

Foreign nationals, mainly South Africans, who entered Swaziland through border gates were given only 24 hours to conduct their business and leave the kingdom.

See also

Full details of known coronavirus cases in Swaziland
Swaziland Govt publishes long list of exceptions to coronavirus ‘lockdown’
King puts Swaziland into partial lockdown in bid to beat coronavirus. Army and police on standby
 
Swaziland King declares state of emergency over coronavirus. Schools closed, foreign travel suspended