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SOCIAL GATHERINGS: COMPLY OR FACE LAW - COPS

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MBABANE - If you were planning to go against government’s directive by staging social or public gatherings, then think again.

This is because the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) will be all out to ensure that the directive is adhered to by all citizens of the country. In a press statement issued by the REPS yesterday, it was stated that the department was ready to ensure that all citizens practised strict compliance to the directive announced by government regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

Compliance

“Pursuant to the declaration of coronavirus as a national emergency, the police service is advising members of the public to exercise strict compliance to the outlined measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” reads part of the statement issued by the REPS. The police mentioned that it was crucial that social gatherings were avoided in this period and that they would ensure that no unwarranted social gathering will take place. “Obligatory ceremonies such as funerals and memorials should strictly adhere to the maximum of 50 people allowed to attend. In cases where organisers of such events anticipate that they may have a challenge in maintaining the number of people in attendance, they should contact the station commander of that particular jurisdiction for assistance,” the statement reads.

It was also mentioned that in the same vein, businesses were urged to put in place all the necessary measures to eliminate the risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus and to protect their staff as well as clientele. “Police will be constantly checking business centres to ensure that there is strict compliance. Furthermore, the nation’s safety from the coronavirus pandemic depends entirely on the collective efforts from everyone in protecting each other,” the police said. Issuing the statement was Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati on behalf of the National Commissioner of Police, William Dlamini.

On Tuesday, the Kingdom of Eswatini declared a national emergency following the relentless spread of the coronavirus across the world. Making the announcement was Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini, who informed the nation that he had been commanded by His Majesty King Mswati III to invoke Section 29 of the Disaster Management Act of 2006 to declare a national emergency.

Declaration

The PM said as a result of the declaration, the King had further commanded government to cancel the celebration of His Majesty’s birthday, which was expected to take place on April 19, 2020 in Nhlangano. The King will be turning 52 years old. The announcement also made it official that all schools and tertiary institutions were to be closed with immediate effect. Furthermore, government has stated that gatherings that will attract 50 or more people were suspended until further notice. These include all public and private gatherings. The PM said in order to implement social distancing, the suspended events included entertainment activities, sporting activities and others.

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