Paramedics on the coronavirus emergency response team in Swaziland are to stop work because they do not have proper protective equipment.
They say they face ‘imminent and serious risk to [their] safety and health’.
The National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU) said work would stop from Wednesday (4 February 2021). Paramedics would report for duty but would not go out on calls.
NAPSAWU President Oscar Nkambule said paramedics had not been paid overtime allowances and had not been given proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
Paramedics are among the first-line responders during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis that is gripping Swaziland.
Nkambule said a number of members of NAPSAWU had contacted or died with coronavirus, including paramedics.
Nkambule told the Swaziland News, an online newspaper, ‘[We] tried in vain to engage government to provide working equipment and allowances hence the decision to down tools. We apologize to members of the public as services will be limited and it’s unfortunate that the employees were forced to take decision.’
As of Monday there had been 15,804 reported cases of coronavirus and 574 deaths according to the Swazi Ministry of Health.
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