Swaziland PM Warns of Tough Surveillance Measures As People Break Coronavirus Lockdown Rules

The Swaziland (eSwatini) Government is to step up its surveillance in the kingdom to try to catch people who are breaking coronavirus lockdown regulations.

Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini said, 'We will not hesitate to ban and bring to the law any individual or entity that fails to follow the laid down regulations thus putting the entire country at risk.

'Working together with law enforcement agencies, we will upscale surveillance across the country to ensure that COVID-19 [coronavirus] regulations are adhered to and that those who breach them are brought to book. We will continue to monitor many other public establishments to ensure compliance.'

The statement on Tuesday (11 November 2020) came after some restrictions had been eased in October around sport, entertainments and travel.

He said there were now only 159 active cases of COVID-19 in the kingdom. 'However, while the statistics are promising, the very unpredictable nature of this virus means we cannot for one moment rest on our successes.'

He added, 'Unfortunately, Government has noted with serious concern of the behaviour of a few individuals across multiple sectors who, over the past weeks, have continued to show complete disregard of COVID-19 regulations.'

He said, 'Some citizens still refuse to wear face masks when in public or using public transport; others still continue to engage in banned sporting activity including informal football, while others do not adhere to the laid down protocols governing the hosting of gatherings, particularly entertainment activities.'

He added, 'Government takes this moment to remind all citizens, business owners, public transport operators, religious establishments, leisure sites, arts stakeholders and sporting associations that we are still within this COVID-19 battle and such deliberate disregard of the laid down protocols puts the entire country at risk of instigating a spike in infections. It is for this reason that Government is taking a stern disciplinary action against certain establishments for non-compliance to the COVID-19 regulations.'

He said since the ban on alcohol sales had been lifted some people had been drinking recklessly. Regulations prohibit consumption of alcohol in crowded areas, bars or any gathering and only allows home consumption or in hotels when food is served.

As of 11 November 2020 the Swazi Ministry of Health had reported a total of 6,044 positive cases of coronavirus. There had been 116 deaths.

A survey in October 2020 suggested more than seven in ten businesses in Swaziland had defied government regulations to combat the spread of coronavirus.

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