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MBABANE – Government has effected an immediate 30-day ban on alcohol sales.

This includes the brewing of traditional brew such as the now in season, buganu (marula) and all other homemade brews, like fokker 100. The announcement was made by the Acting Prime Minister, Themba Masuku, at the Cabinet Offices yesterday afternoon, where he further announced the extended partial lockdown for 30 days. The extended partial lockdown is with effect from midnight today (Thursday January 21, 2021). Masuku said during the last 12 days since the new restrictions came into effect, the COVID-19 pandemic had not relented; there has been no let up. “We have seen numbers of new infections rising by 2 468, averaging 205 a day. We have also experienced a new high in fatalities reaching 427, which is 124 more than what it was 12 days ago,” Masuku said.


He said this reflected an average of 10 deaths per day. Masuku said in order to save lives and allow the health system to breathe, Cabinet, under the counsel and guidance of Their Majesties, and exercising Regulation 52 of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Regulations, had taken the decision to extend the revised restrictions by another four weeks. The acting PM said this measure was meant to disrupt the galloping spread of the virus as the past weeks had clearly indicated the need to further strengthen the COVID-19 response efforts as a country.
“We have an opportunity over the next four weeks to act responsibly as individuals and communities to save lives,” he said. Meanwhile, on the immediate ban on alcohol Masuku said any retailer that went against the directive would face serious consequences, including the suspension of their trading licence as it had happened recently to others.

He said it was unfortunate that they had witnessed many imbibers ignoring the directive to only consume alcohol at home, thereby congregating in groups where they removed masks and shared their drinks. “An intoxicated mind does not have the capacity to think rationally and this is dangerous at a time when every action has a consequence,” said Masuku.
He said the ban on alcohol sales, was not, however, a ticket for the black market and illegal home-made booze sellers to immerge and thrive during this period. The acting premier said law enforcement officers, including community police working with regional task teams, would be very vigilant in monitoring this activity to ensure that it did not resurface. He urged all emaSwati to be responsible and report anyone found to be illegally selling alcohol during the next four weeks.

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