The reopening of schools in Swaziland (eSwatini) is to be delayed because the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.
Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini said there was ‘panic’ among many Swazi people ‘following the drastic increase in the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the Kingdom’. There had been 93 positive cases reported in the past week.
As of 11 June 2020 there had been three deaths and 449 positive cases recorded by the Ministry of Health.
Dlamini had previously announced a phased reopening of schools from 1 July. In a statement on 11 June he announced this would be put back to 6 July.
He said, ‘The events of the past week, however, have necessitated that Government reviews the decision of opening schools to ensure that all necessary precautions and preparations are in place before teachers and our children get back to class in a safely manner.’
Swaziland has been in partial lockdown since 27 March. In parts of the kingdom many businesses have been allowed to reopen with health restrictions. Gatherings of more than 20 people remain banned and people are urged to keep off the streets unless their journey is essential.
Dlamini said, ‘While the decision to reopen was based on the premise that our economy cannot stay in lockdown forever, we cannot in any way let up on the precautionary guidelines in this fight. It is of paramount importance that while we gradually reopen the economy, we still take individual responsibility for our health.’
On Thursday (11 June 2020) it was reported that Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi went into self-isolation after her secretary tested positive for coronavirus. Nkosi was tested and found to be negative.
Work still to be done before Swaziland schools open after coronavirus lockdown