New coronavirus rules in Swaziland (eSwatini) require travellers crossing the borders into neighbouring South Africa or Mozambique to have tested negative for coronavirus.
The Swazi Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday (30 September 2020) that people would have to pay to take a test at a private laboratory. The charge, according to the Ministry, would be E850 (US$50).
In Swaziland about seven in ten of the 1.2 million population have incomes less than E30 per day.
Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi, said in a statement, the test would have to be done not less than 72 hours before travel. Travellers without a test certificate would be obliged to take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test at the border. If a person was found to be positive they would be isolated.
Nkosi said, ‘Essential Travelers such as daily commuters i.e scholars, teachers, truck drivers who have been making cross border travel during the travel restriction period will continue to travel following the protocols they have previously used.’
Swaziland has been on a partial lockdown since March 2020. Nkosi said Swaziland continued to see ‘sustained community transmission’ and it was ‘still in the national emergency mode’. Non-essential travel remains discouraged.
Meanwhile, the Times of eSwatini reported on Thursday that people had complained that it took three weeks to get coronavirus test results. This made the result useless.
The death toll from coronavirus in Swaziland continues to rise. On Wednesday the Ministry of Health reported there had now been 109 deaths. There had been a total of 5,482 reported cases of coronavirus in the kingdom. Of these, 4,192 people had recovered.
Figures released by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development showed the gross domestic product in the economy had fallen by 2.9 percent in the second quarter of 2020. This followed back-to-back declines of 2.4 and 1.2 percent in the previous two quarters.
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