Thursday, April 30, 2020

Swaziland’s coronavirus lockdown in chaos as motorists beat travel ban

The coronavirus lockdown in Swaziland (eSwatini) has descended into chaos as people ignore the stay at home order and travel ban.

Police backed by the army and prison warders have tried to lockdown Manzini, the main commercial centre in the kingdom, but people have refused to comply. Roadblocks have been set up across the kingdom

New travel restrictions came into force on Monday (27 April 2020) and police ordered that all people wanting to travel by road across Swaziland would need written permission. Among those allowed to write permits were area chiefs and other local officials. Now, the police have withdrawn this permission because too many permits were issued.

The National Commissioner of Police William Dlamini announced the rule change on Wednesday (29 April 2020). He said the lockdown had been rendered useless by the huge number of permission letters that had been issued. He said the number of motorist on the road had increased since the first day of the new restriction.

He ordered that travel be further restricted to only those who were sick and going to hospital and those working for essential services.

Human Rights Lawyer Sibusiso Nhlabatsi told the Swaziland News, an online newspaper,  that the police chief was acting beyond his powers in announcing the Manzini lockdown. It was, he said for the prime minister Ambrose Dlamini to make such decisions.

Swaziland has been in partial lockdown since 27 March with business closures and bans on gatherings and unnecessary travel.

As of Thursday there had been only one recorded death from coronavirus (COVID-19) and 100 confirmed cases of the virus.

In other coronavirus developments:

A 27-YEAR-old man was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment with the option of paying an E2,000 fine for being in Manzini town centre without good cause and resisting arrest. He said he had gone to pick up his wife from work.

MOTORISTS STOPPED at roadblocks are being fined E50 if they are not wearing a facemask.

SOME SUPERMARKETS are testing people’s temperatures to see if they might have the virus before allowing them into the store. Other stores have started a no-mask-no-entry policy.

THE MINISTRY of Health announced it would be hiring another 293 health workers, including 90 nurses, to work in public hospitals.

See also

Army, police close down Swaziland’s main commercial city in bid to halt coronavirus spread

Public need written permission to travel in Swaziland in big coronavirus clampdown

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