Thursday, April 16, 2020

Swaziland records first coronavirus death, but relaxes lockdown. Buses to run normally again

Swaziland (eSwatini) has recorded its first death from the coronavirus (COVID-19), Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi confirmed on Thursday (16 April 2020). 

It came a day after the Swazi Government announced it would extend a 20-day partial lockdown for another three weeks but relax many of the restrictions.

Public transport will be allowed to continue to operate normally. It had been restricted to running only in the early morning and late afternoon.

Nkosi told a press briefing the victim was a man, aged 59. He had been admitted to the kingdom’s COVID-19 facility in Mbabane on Monday. He had been diagnosed with pneumonia and diabetes mellitus on admission. He was given ‘oxygen therapy’ but his condition deteriorated and he died on Wednesday. 

She also announced the 17th confirmed case of coronavirus. She said to date of the 17, eight people had recovered.

At the same briefing Minister of Public Works and Transport Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe announced public transport would now operate during normal working hours as a response to the extended partial lockdown period previously announced by Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini.

He said, ‘The operation of public transport is essential. Buses, taxis and minibuses shall operate at 70 percent capacity on condition that all occupants wear face masks.’

He added, ‘All passengers boarding public transport must have their hands washed with water and soap or sanitised prior to boarding.’

Ndwandwe said it was the duty of the passenger to provide themselves with face masks. ‘Public transport drivers must not allow commuters to board vehicles without face masks.’

He added, ‘All cross-border road passenger movements to neighbouring countries remain prohibited for the duration of the partial lockdown. Private vehicles shall not exceed 70 percent carrying capacity and all shall be compelled to wear masks during the course of travel.’

He said, ‘Private vehicles shall not operate a taxi service or load passengers for gain.’

At the same briefing Minister of Home Affairs Princess Lindiwe announced that Monday, 20 April 2020 would be a public holiday to celebrate King Mswati III’s birthday which falls this year on Sunday 19 April.

See also

Swaziland’s absolute monarch extends coronavirus lockdown: P.M. statement

Swaziland bans alcohol production and sales, threatens media as coronavirus lockdown extended

Assault on human rights follows coronavirus lockdown in Swaziland

More reports of police and army violence against civilians as Swaziland coronavirus lockdown continues

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