Government notes with huge concern the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in the country over the past weeks. A two-day analysis indicates that as a country, we recorded a total of 201 cases between the 15th and 16th December alone.
About 56% of these cases were from the Hhohho region; with a majority of them recorded around Mbabane City areas. Forty five prcent of positive cases are those that tested after showing symptoms, while those coming from gatherings were at 20%. Contacts accounted for 19% and travelling 15%. From these statistics, it has become quite clear that travelling and gatherings are the leading drivers of COVID-19 in the country. This has, therefore, necessitated Cabinet to take a decision to restrict travelling and control gatherings during the festive season. Cabinet, has therefore effected Regulation 52 of the Disaster Management (Coronavirus – COVID-19) Regulations, 2020, and approved the amendment of regulation 43 in order to ensure minimal exposure of Emaswati during the
busy festive season. The amended regulations shall come into effectimmediately and remain in force until 6 January, 2021. They include the following restrictions:
- A person shall not consume liquor at a gathering, including a family gathering of more than 20 people.
- A gathering shall not take place after 8pm.
- Night vigils and cross–over events or parties are prohibited.
- Non essential Travelling between 11pm and 4 am is prohibited.
- A restaurant or food outlet operator shall not sell or serve liquor to diners after 7pm.
- Festive season sports tournaments are prohibited. Application for a permit to hold a gathering.
- A person who intends to hold a gathering in terms of the Regulations, shall at least seven days (7) days before the intended gathering lodge an application with the Ministry of Home Affairs Regional Office.
- The application shall be in the prescribed form and shall be accompanied by a letter of consent from a Chief or Chief’s Council if the event is to be held on Eswatini Nation Land.
- The Regional National Disaster Management Agency structures shall inspect the venue where such a gathering will be held and make a recommendation on issuing the permit to the Ministry of Home Affairs officials.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs shall then issue a permit in consultation with the Regional Administrator.
- The decision on the application shall be communicated to the applicant five (5) days after receipt of application.
- A person who is aggrieved by the decision of the Minister of Home Affairs may appeal to the Deputy Prime Minister.
In response to the increased number of cases around Mbabane, Government will embark on a COVID-19 door to door screening and testing exercise around the Mbabane city and residential
areas. This intensified case finding will be carried out in the next two weeks as part of efforts to break the transmission in identified hotspots. The public is requested to cooperate with the Ministry of Health teams that will be moving from door to door.
Together, we can break the transmission. COVID-19 Vaccine Development I wish to touch briefly on the COVID-19 vaccine. The nation will recall that the country is part of the World Health Organisation’s
supported process of introducing and availing this intervention to the nation. The public is, therefore, urged to rely on authentic sources of information regarding the vaccine; such as WHO and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The
Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini, through the Ministry of Health, will keep the nation updated and engaged on the national process.
As I conclude let me remind all Emaswati and residents to strictly follow all the laid down health protocols to prevent an uncontrollable spread of the virus during this festive season.
a) Wear a face mask consistently and correctly.
b) Wash your hands with running water and soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
c) Observe social distancing of one to two metres at all times.
d) Avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation and crowded places, including close-contact settings such as close-range conversations.