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MBABANE – It took less than 24 hours for the Eswatini Government to follow in the steps of its South African counterpart by announcing a partial lockdown.

During a press conference held last night in the Cabinet Offices, Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini announced that His Majesty King Mswati III and Ingwenyama had commanded government to introduce a partial lockdown. He said this would be with effect from Friday March 27, 2020. The PM, however, clarified that this would occur at midnight on Friday, which therefore means Saturday will be the official day that it starts. The lockdown will be for 20 days and ironically gatherings of 20 or more people were also temporarily banned. The PM said the King had commanded government to introduce the partial lockdown on selected sectors of the economy to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. The PM said the King had emphasised that the economy must continue to be strong and robust to ensure that the partial lockdown did not ground the kingdom.


The PM said the partial lockdown included 14 pillars;  one of them being being that, beginning on Friday midnight, for 20 days, all unnecessary movements and visits outside the perimeters of homes or residences were restricted except to provide or acquire essential services such as healthcare, food, or banking services, and for the personnel performing such services. “We encourage all employers to allow as many employees as possible to work from home,” said Dlamini. The PM said government understood that the introduction of these measures may cause some inconvenience, and hurt the economy but the safety and health of all emaSwati was the ultimate priority. “Government is working closely with the private sector to find solutions to mitigate the negative impact of this pandemic on business,” he said.

He said essential industries were expected to continue operating while observing the proper hygiene standards that would protect employees from the pandemic. This, according to Dlamini, will include civil servants. “Government will engage further to ensure that proper hygiene measures are complied with. The Ministry of Commerce will provide guidance on which industries fall under essential services,” said Dlamini. The PM further stated that following the announcement by the South African Government of a lockdown, government advised that only goods and cargo as well as returning citizens and legal residents would be allowed through the borders. “Returning citizens and residents will be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated locations except for those who are able to self-isolate,” said Dlamini.



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