The coronavirus crisis in Swaziland (eSwatini) is in danger of spreading like ‘wild fires’ in part of the kingdom, Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini warned.
Teams are to be sent from door-to-door in an attempt to find cases, test, treat, isolate and trace contacts, he announced on Friday (10 July 2020).
Despite the spread, schools will continue to reopen, some businesses will be taken out of lockdown and some sports will be able to start again. Churches are set to reopen.
In a statement Dlamini said, ‘It took the Kingdom two months to reach 600 cases and only 20 days to reach 1,200 infections.’ There have now been 17 deaths from coronavirus (COVID-19). He said this had set off ‘alarm bells’ among the people of Swaziland.
He said, ‘We are dealing with an ever evolving enemy which is always ready to strike and we have no other option but to keep up our guard and pace of intervention. This will, inevitably, be a long road to travel and certainly a marathon, not a sprint to the finish line.’
He said there were ‘hotspots’ of infections in the Manzini region and parts of Hhohho. The Lubombo and Shiselweni regions had clusters with a high potential to turn into ‘wild fires’ if not urgently attended to, he added.
He announced, ‘The Ministry of Health will soon embark on a “Door to Door Campaign” contained in a six point plan to halt the spread of COVID-19, starting in the Manzini and Hhohho regions and eventually spreading throughout the country. This plan will focus on education, finding cases, testing, treating, isolating and tracing contacts.’
Despite the increase in cases he said the Swazi Government would start a phased reopening of sporting activities. From Monday (13 July 2020) angling, athletics, cricket, cue sports, cycling, darts, equestrian, golf, shooting, tennis and teqball would be allowed if strict health conditions were met. Spectators would not be allowed.
Dlamini said more businesses would also open from Monday and churches would be able to open with reduced numbers in the congregation from 19 July.
Meanwhile, the Industrial Court has still to decide on an application from the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) to force the government to halt the reopening of schools that started on Monday (6 July 2020). SNAT says it is not yet safe for pupils to return.
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