Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Swaziland faces shortage of coronavirus test kits and ventilators as cases continue to rise

Swaziland (eSwatini) has a shortage of coronavirus test kits and ventilators for sick patients as positive cases and deaths continue to rise.


Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Dr Simon Zwane said the Mbabane Government Hospital and the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM) Hospital at Manzini had a total of 12 ventilators between them but these were reserved for patients not suffering from coronavirus (COVID-19).


He said the Swazi Government had purchased 43 ventilators which were distributed in the health centres around the country.


The eSwatini Observer reported he said, ‘A majority of the ventilators are at the Lubombo Referral Hospital but some of them were distributed to the other government hospitals to bring the service closer to the patients.’


He added this did not mean there were enough ventilators if there was a sudden increase in the number of cases.


Zwane also said there was a shortage of coronavirus test kits to deal with the umber of people wanting to cross the kingdom’s border into South Africa, which had recently reopened for traffic. The Observer reported only 4,500 test kits were available.


He said the available tests were prioritised. 


He told a the Parliament COVID-19 Portfolio Committee workshop the ministry was evaluating antigen rapid tests which produced results after 15 to 30 minutes. He said they were still evaluating the tests and currently they had 12,000 test kits which was not enough.


The number of positive cases reported by the Ministry of Health stands at 5,598 as of Tuesday (6 October 2020). There have been a total of 112 deaths.


Meanwhile, Moses Vilakati, Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, announced the number of tourist arrivals in Swaziland had declined by 75 percent during the pandemic. Swaziland usually has 1.2 million visitor arrivals a year, he said at an event to mark United Nations World Tourism Day.



See also

Swaziland coronavirus toll rises, economy in freefall, no end in sight, new review shows


Swaziland introduces new travel restrictions at borders as coronavirus crisis continues


Swaziland coronavirus deaths top 100 as number of tests undertaken falls

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