More schools and colleges in Swaziland (eSwatini) are to reopen from coronavirus lockdown just as the Ministry of Health’s epidemiologist predicted cases of the virus could triple before the end of the month.
Dr Vusi Lokotfwako reportedly said positive cases could reach 12,470 over the next 10 days. As of 20 August 2020 the Ministry of Health reported 4,110 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) since the crisis began in March. Of these, 2,643 had recovered. There had been a total of 81 deaths, up from 41 at the end of July.
The eSwatini Observer reported Lokotfwako said people needed to follow guidelines on personal health, wearing facemasks and social distancing to keep the numbers down.
A partial lockdown introduced in Swaziland in March has been eased. The Observer reported, ‘He mentioned that during the lockdown, the cumulative curve [the number of people becoming infected] of the country was very low, however as the economy was gradually eased, a lot of people contracted the virus.’
On Thursday (20 August 2020) Swazi Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini announced that more school classes would reopen starting on Monday. Some classes already resumed on 6 July. More university classes would also return from Monday.
School teachers’ leaders oppose the move. The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) already has a case before the High Court after the July reopening asking for schools to be closed again because they continue to be unsafe for pupils and staff.
After the Prime Minister’s statement SNAT Secretary General, Sikelela Dlamini said the teachers’ position had not changed.
In his statement the PM said, ‘Health teams have been deployed in all four regions to monitor and attend to all schools’ concerns with regard to the pandemic, and a National Schools Health team which consists of doctors is in place to assist all schools.’
He also said ‘a noticeable number’ of pupils had not returned to school when they reopened ‘mainly due to pregnancy’. He added others had taken illegal and informal jobs.
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