Swaziland Ambulances Grounded By Lack of Fuel As Coronavirus Death Toll Rises

King Mswati III of Eswatini (file photo).

Ambulances in Swaziland (eSwatini) have been grounded because of lack of fuel at the height of the coronavirus crisis. The shortage might have contributed to the death of a teacher from the virus.

The Swazi Director of Health Dr Vusi Magagula confirmed this to the Swati Newsweek website.

Ambulances from Emergency Preparedness and Response (known as 977) had been grounded because of a fuel shortage, he said.

An ambulance was not available to take Boy Phathaphatha Magagula, a 53-year-old teacher from Mdzimba High School, to Lubombo Referral Hospital after he became sick with coronavirus (COVID-19). He later died.

Dr Vusi Magagula told Swati Newsweek, 'There was lack of fuel in eSwatini last week. This means the 977 ambulances had been grounded. It is true, we had such a situation. The teacher from Mdzimba could not be picked up due to lack of fuel.'

The death toll from coronavirus has been steadily rising in Swaziland. As of 23 July 2020 28 people had died, according to official Ministry of Health figures. At the beginning of the month the figure was 11. A total of 2,021 people have tested positive for the virus.

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