National response to COVID-19 updates

As the World pushes ahead to confront what has been aptly branded as an invincible enemy, we are constantly reminded of the need to collectively accelerate our intervention efforts to urgently flatten the curve and save lives from the scourge of the coronavirus.

The statistics may be unsettling, with over 1.5 million people infected worldwide and over 80 000 deaths, but we have no reason to doubt that the continued push to contain the spread of this virus across our countries and communities will soon yield the desired outcome.

The Kingdom of Eswatini has not been spared from the effects of this global pandemic and our intervention has been swift and targeted at preventing an uncontrollable surge in infections which could adversely impact our health system. A lot of ground has been covered since a National Emergency was declared on 17 March 2020. This was followed by the implementation of a partial lockdown which entered its 14th day today. Let me reiterate that the virus does not move by itself but is moved by people hence the importance of adhering to the measures and regulations of the partial lockdown by principally staying at home.

Over the past two weeks, EmaSwati, in their majority, have heeded to the call to stay at home and adhered to the advice of the Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation to frequently wash hands with clean running water and soap and keep our home environments clean. This has been observed across many areas of the Kingdom. We understand that such a partial lockdown is unprecedented and has affected our normal daily lives and activities, but is it is necessary. Government wishes to appreciate all those who have made this sacrifice to stay home and observe all the measures as prescribed by health professionals and the regulations of the partial lockdown.

It is a given though that there are exceptions to the rule, as some citizens continue to ignore these COVID 19 regulations. This is regrettable and unfortunate as it places all of us in danger and negates our efforts to effectively contain the spread of the virus. Our security forces have risen up to the challenge and enforced the partial lockdown regulations, and we highly commend them for their service and urge the public to be responsible.

May I once again warn against ignoring these response interventions which have been put in place to protect our country and citizens, and in extension, contain the global spread of this pandemic. Getting back to our normal lives will be delayed if others refuse to see the bigger picture.

Many of our health professionals have been exceptional in the course of their work at the height of this scourge. They have answered the call of duty with distinction despite the risks that come with tackling this highly contagious virus. Government will continue to prioritise the safety of our health workers at the frontline of this disease. May I, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, pass my gratitude to all the health workers who are continuing to execute their duties with dedication and commitment to save lives.

Currently Eswatini has 12 confirmed COVID 19 cases. While the numbers are steadily rising, it is gratifying to note that seven of these patients have since tested negative and have been discharged. This speaks largely to the efficiency and dedication of our health sector which, though works under challenging circumstances, continues to be competent. It is also a challenge for all of us to vigilantly fight to contain the spread of the virus to ensure it does not overwhelm our health system. I may report to the nation that through the advice of my doctor I took a test for coronavirus early this week. My results are back and I have tested negative.

It is important to note that we have been reliant on South African laboratories to test for COVID 19 and the turn-around time of results has been dragging due to high demand. As announced by the Minister of Health yesterday, Government can report that our own laboratory facility has today started testing for COVID 19. This facility allows us to test up to a hundred of suspected cases a day. Such a facility gives Government the allowance to widen the testing scope to ensure that all suspected cases are quickly identified and proper interventions undertaken within a short space of time.

The National Disaster Task teams are continued to implement response measures across all regions of the Kingdom with an intensified awareness campaign. All four Regional Offices have deployed regional disaster management teams to spread messages door to door and distribute information and education material on COVID 19. Personal Protective Equipment has been distributed across our hospitals, health centres and clinics while training of health care workers, including the recently recruited nurses has been intensified. Government is aware that the equipment is still not enough to meet the demand and we are continuing with efforts to acquire more to protect our health workers and citizens.

Our gratitude goes to our international partners, companies and Non-Governmental Organisational who are working in close collaboration with Government in this COVID 19 response.

May I seize this opportunity to warn all those individuals and organisations within and out of the country who continue to paddle false information, using this pandemic to distract our focus and to push a political agenda aimed at destabilising the country. The peace and stability of our country is not negotiable and no one will be allowed to threaten it in any form or measure. Government will spare no effort in taking the necessary steps to protect the nation from uncanny characters with evil intentions.

As we head into the long Easter weekend, may I take this opportunity to encourage all of us to continue being vigilant and responsible, especially by staying at home and ensuring that all around us comply with the health precautions and COVID 19 regulations.

I urge all leaders of faith based organizations and worshippers to ensure that even during this period when we celebrate the redemption of mankind, we adhere to the COVID 19 regulations which requires everyone to be at home in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Our National Good Friday and Easter Sunday services will be broadcast live on Television and Radio with a link on Government social media platforms to allow all EmaSwati, in and out of the country, to access them.

As we observe the Easter holidays, let me emphasize once more the importance of following the precautionary guidelines as provided by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation. They include that:

  • Our home environment should be kept clean and safe and all high touch surfaces must be disinfected regularly.
  • Wash hands regularly with running water and soap. In the absence of water and soap, the public is advised to use sanitizers.
  • Stop shaking hands and use other non touch methods of greeting.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1 metre from each other.
  • Avoid touching your face (mouth, nose, eyes) and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Take care of the vulnerable, especially senior citizens and those with underlying respiratory conditions who are more susceptible to the coronavirus infection.
  • If you experience flu like symptoms (fever, difficulty breathing, cough, high temperature) visit your nearest health centre facility or call the Emergency Medical Services Toll free line 977.

Government has also established an Emergency toll free line 112 for COVID 19 related emergency inquiries and for reporting incidences related to the response and interventions of the virus. The partial lockdown will continue as announced for the duration of 20 days. Any review will be communicated to the public after the relevant consultations.

There has not been a time such as this in our recent history when we all, as individuals and together as a Nation, have to act urgently to ensure protection of our loved ones and indeed all our citizens.

May I, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, wish all emaSwati happy Easter Holidays. Let us stay at home, stay safe and save lives.

Thank you.


Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini                    



09 April 2020

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