Sunday, July 5, 2020

Entire Swaziland Cabinet in isolation after minister tests positive for coronavirus

All 18 cabinet ministers in Swaziland (eSwatini) have been ordered into isolation after one of them tested positive for coronavirus.

Public Works and Transport minister Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe was found to be infected after a routine test of all cabinet ministers on Tuesday (30 June 2020). 

The AFP news agency reported Swazi Government spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini said in a statement, ‘Following this development, all cabinet members will isolate with immediate effect and work from home.’

All the other cabinet ministers reportedly tested negative.

The ministers are expected to continue working and hold virtual meetings.

The news comes just as Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini announced the easing of a partial lockdown that has been in place since 27 March to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Schools are set to reopen on 6 July.

As of 4 July there had been 13 deaths and 956 reported positive cases in Swaziland.

See also

Coronavirus cases in Swaziland continue to rise despite three-month partial lockdown

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Coronavirus cases in Swaziland continues to rise despite three-month partial lockdown

The total number of positive coronavirus cases officially reported in Swaziland (eSwatini) passed 800 on the 30 June 2020. So far there have been 11 reported deaths.

The number of cases rose from 690 to 812 in the final seven days of the month. There is little sign that coronavirus (COVID-19) is under control in the kingdom.

Of the 17 positive cases reported by the Swazi Ministry of Health on 30 June, two were aged nine or under and a further three were aged 10 to 19.

Of the 812 total cases 149 were aged 19 or under. Of the total cases 442 were from the Manzini region, which is also the area with the highest population in Swaziland. So far 408 of the confirmed cases have recovered and 376 are considered ‘active’, the Ministry of Health reported.

Swaziland has been in partial lockdown since 27 March in an attempt to control the spread of the virus. At one time all but essential businesses were closed but there has been some easing of this restriction. A ban on gatherings of 20 people or more is still in place and churches and places of worship are restricted. Schools have been closed since March but some are set to reopen on 6 July. The Swaziland National Association of Teachers has called on government to postpone reopening because it does not believe it is yet safe to do so.

See also 

Swaziland teachers say Govt. plan to reopen schools from coronavirus lockdown unsafe

Nearly 15,000 Swaziland workers face unpaid layoffs as alcohol banned in coronavirus lockdown

Corruption throws Swaziland coronavirus scheme to feed destitute into confusion

Swaziland policeman shoots boy, 15, playing football during coronavirus lockdown

Monday, June 29, 2020

Swaziland teachers say Govt. plan to reopen schools from coronavirus lockdown unsafe

Union leaders have urged the Swaziland (eSwatini) Government not to go ahead with plans to reopen schools next week from coronavirus lockdown because it is unsafe to do so.

The Swazi Ministry of Education and Training instructed high school teachers to return to work on Monday (29 June 2020) ahead of a partial reopening of schools starting 6 July.

The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) reported it had visited 20 schools in rural areas across the kingdom and found none met the minimum safety requirement to reopen. It said government was not assisting these schools to put proper measures in place.

SNAT also reported it found 847 teachers said they had underlying health conditions and should shelter during the present coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

In a message to teachers SNAT urged them not to report for work until safety measures were in place.

The message said in part, ‘SNAT really wants schools to reopen for teaching and learning to continue. However, as a human rights organisation we cannot put ourselves in a position where we will find ourselves infecting one another with the virus. We cannot allow a situation where we will find ourselves even infecting the learners whom we want to impart knowledge to.’

SNAT had previously drawn up a list of issues it wanted addressed before schools could safely reopen. They included schools to be disinfected, all children tested for coronavirus, a nurse on site at every school and the transportation of learners to conform with social distance requirements. The marking of class work and sharing of books should be also be discontinued, SNAT said. 

Schools have been closed in Swaziland since 18 March.

Minister of Education and Training Lady Howard-Mabuza told the House of Assembly that E56 million (US$3.2 million) was needed to pay for the school reopening. That money has yet to be released by the government.

The number of deaths from coronavirus in Swaziland nearly doubled to 11 in the past week, according to official Ministry of Health figures. As of 28 June, 781 people had tested positive.

See also

Swaziland schools to reopen from coronavirus lockdown but Govt. admits infections and deaths surging

Delay in reopening Swaziland schools as coronavirus cases continue to rise

Work still to be done before Swaziland schools open after coronavirus lockdown