Swaziland extended coronavirus restrictions as deaths reached a record daily total.
Alcohol sales will be banned for thirty days, including the sale of traditional homebrew.
In a statement on Wednesday (20 January 2021) Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku said there was a ‘galloping spread’ of new coronavirus (COVID-19) infections averaging 205 a day with recorded deaths averaging 10 a day.
Separately on Wednesday, Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi reported 24 deaths, the highest total in a single day. There have been a total of 427 deaths and 13,789 people have tested positive for the virus.
Masuku announced the sale of alcohol was banned with immediate effect. ‘Any retailer who offends this directive will face serious consequences including the suspension of their trading license as it has happened recently to others.’
He said many people had ignored a previous directive to only consume alcohol at home and met in groups where they removed masks and shared drinks.
He said, ‘Our law enforcement officers have been assaulted by the groups that were being dispersed for illegally gathering and drinking alcohol; with police vehicles pelted and vandalised in the process. We cannot tolerate this behaviour as a nation.’
He added, ‘The ban of alcohol sales is, however, not a ticket for the black market and illegal homebrews to emerge and thrive during this period. Law enforcement officers, including community police working with Regional Task Teams, will be very vigilant in monitoring that this illicit activity does not resurface.’
He asked people to report neighbours illegally selling alcohol, including the traditional homebrew.
Masuku called on people to stay at home, only travelling when absolutely necessary. There is a curfew between 8pm and 4am.
He called on people to ‘to pray without ceasing’.
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