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Eswatini has recorded 208 new COVID-19 infections, over the past 48hours

The Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku has today urged emaSwati to return to work and reopen unaffected businesses as the Kingdom returns to normalcy. The Acting Prime Minister has further announced that the country has received a further 12 000 doses of the AstraZeneca #COVID19 Vaccine. Below is a full statement by him from word to word. Don’t forget to subscribe with us for free.

It has been a week since our country was thrown into a tail spin of violence and looting, an unprecedented period in the history of this peaceful Kingdom.

We are heartened to note that the situation has normalised over the past few days, signifying the
deliberate intention from all emaSwati to reestablish our socio-economic growth goals and to restore our
Kingdom’s peace and stability, something we have
cherished as a nation over the centuries.

Let me take this opportunity to convey Government’s deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to all those who were affected and lost their loved ones in the heat of the violent and difficult period. No one deserves to lose a
life under any circumstance and we join all emaSwati in the rallying call for unity among all sectors of our society.

Let us all work together in an endeavour to protect lives at all times. Similarly, I wish to express Government’s sympathy to all who sustained injuries and those whose property was destroyed in the unfortunate skirmish that ensued. As Government, we remain hopeful that this will not befall us again as we need everyone alive and all our collective resources to rebuild our beloved Kingdom.

COVID-19 3rd wave response preparedness

While we recover from this unfortunate spell of violence, the persistency of the COVID-19 pandemic indicates that we need to increase our focus on the virus in order to conquer it and its effects Over the past 48 hours, the Kingdom of Eswatini has recorded 208 new COVID-19 infections, the highest number of COVID-19 cases witnessed in three months.

This continual escalation of new infections is an indication that the country is now in the 3rd wave of the pandemic. Worth noting is that these new cases are widespread across the four Regions of the country, indicating the presence of community transmission. As a measure to effectively respond to the 3rd wave, Government will shortly outline new measures of controlling the spread of the virus. In the meantime, the Ministry of Health has strengthened its preparedness plan as follows:

COVID-19 Testing

  • There is adequate stock levels of COVID-19 test kits of various technologies of antigen and PCR, totalling up to 182 556. Additionally, 100 000 antigen test kits will soon be delivered and 50 000 more test kits are in the pipeline.
  • Additional testing sites have been opened in all regions, making a total of 82. These include public and private hospitals, health centres, public and private clinics, private laboratories and kiosks for people to access COVID-19 testing. It is important for citizens to use these facilities to test for COVID-19 when they experience flu symptoms and when they are contacts of positive cases.
  • Contact tracing teams will continue to investigate cases, contact tracing and testing. Additional surge staff is being recruited to assist the contact tracing team to ensure that people are being assisted with COVID-19 testing.

Treatment and Isolation of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases
In terms of attending to positive cases, may I give the following update;

  • A total of 614 isolation beds are available for patients who require close monitoring. Out of these, 52 are ICU beds, available to admit those who need critical care.
  • Additional isolation facilities have been identified in each of the four Regions to isolate asymptomatic and mild school children, who are unable to isolate in their homes due to overcrowding or living with older and vulnerable parents or guardians.
  • Oxygen capacity has been increased through two
    bulk oxygen tanks at the Lubombo Hospital and Luke Commission, with an oxygen generation plant ready at Luke Commission. More than 100 oxygen concentrators have been distributed to peripheral hospitals and health centres and are now in use, whereas over 500 new oxygen masks are being distributed to these facilities to improve oxygen delivery to patients who need oxygen.
  • Health care workers have received refresher training on the management of critical patients in some of the public hospitals, while more training is still ongoing.
  • Delivery of critical care medicines also continues, with other medicines undergoing procurement processes.
  • Home care teams led by six doctors also continue to attend and provide medical attention to those who are isolated at home. These teams are subdivided to cover all the four Regions of the country.

COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout
Government, through the Ministry of Health, continues to rollout COVID-19 vaccination in phases, based on the availability of the vaccines and guided by the National Vaccine Deployment Plan.

While there are gaps in the supply of vaccines, we are glad to notify the Nation that vaccine supplies are beginning to flow. Our vaccination teams have been able to collect additional doses per vial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. This explains why Eswatini has vaccinated more people than the actual 10 doses within each vial, and ensured minimum wastage.

By 5 July 2021, a total of 37 402 people had received at least the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 11 124 had received both the first and second doses.

An additional 12 000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses have been received in the past few days, which are being used to complete second doses among health workers and the elderly. The country expects to receive 24 000 doses which form part of the delivery of the 500 000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the United Kingdom to continue vaccinating all those above 60 years who have not received the first dose of the vaccine. This first consignment will be dispatched in mid-July 2021.

Furthermore, 165 600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine donated by the United States Government through the COVAX Facility will arrive in the country in a date to be announced.

We continue to urge emaSwati to diligently observe the COVID-19 health protocols of:

1. Consistently wearing face masks and covering the nose and mouth;
2. Washing hands with running water and soap or sanitise frequently;
3. Avoiding crowds and confined spaces with little
ventilation or air circulation;
4. Keeping a reasonable social distancing.

Let us protect one another at all times and save lives.

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