Eswatini extends coronavirus lockdown by three weeks
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Rustenburg - Eswatini has extended the partial coronavirus lockdown by three weeks, Prime Minster Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini said on Wednesday.
"I have been commanded by His Majesty King Mswati III to announce an extension of the partial lockdown for another three weeks effective at midnight today [Wednesday]," Dlamini said.
"This extension of 21 days will buy the country more time to contain the spread of the virus and avoid overwhelming our health system. It will give us enough time to flatten the curve, allow us to aggressively fight the virus.
"It will also help us train more health workers and acquire the requisite medical equipment to help EmaSwati face this virus head on. Approximately 50 percent of all health care workers have been trained and the remaining will be trained during the extension period."
He said the lockdown would be a partial lockdown, allowing low-risk non-essential businesses to operate under strict hygiene conditions.
"This will ensure that we balance the health interests and economic stability of the Kingdom. The ministry of commerce, industry and trade will announce the low-risk non-essential business identified in this extended lockdown."
He said Eswatini, like the rest of the world, has traversed through an unprecedented and indefinite path over the past 20 days, when all non-essential services remained suspended to control the spread of the coronavirus.
"The partial lockdown that began on March 27 has changed the way of life as we are used to. It has strained our economy, adversely affected business, health and education, and delayed our economic renewal drive," Dlamini said.
"No one in the world had been prepared for this pandemic, but the international community is bound by the common objective to rid our globe of this highly contagious virus so that our lives may return to normal as soon as practically possible. Tough decisions have had to be made to protect our citizens and keep the country safe and secure."
He said projections from health professionals indicated that the partial lockdown measures may have delayed the onset of the infection peak by one to six months, and was likely to have reduced the cumulative number of infections in Eswatini.
"We have seen positive Covid-19 cases increase by seven more during the partial lockdown. These projections and increase in confirmed cases show that we are not yet at the point of flattening the curve. While a lot has been achieved over the past 20 days, the risk of an uncontrollable spread remains high."
Eswatini has recorded 16 cases of Covid-19 with eight recoveries.
The coronavirus officially known as Covid-19, was first recorded in Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province before it spilled over to other parts of the world, so far there have been over two million confirmed cases worldwide, with over 129,000 deaths and over 494,000 recoveries.
African News Agency (ANA)
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