Swaziland: Swazi People Face Up to Two Years Jail for Breaking Coronavirus Rules On Gatherings

People in Swaziland (eSwatini) face jail terms of up to two years if they break coronavirus regulations on the size of gatherings under new measures.

The Swazi National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) announced on Tuesday (24 November 2020) that fines of up to E25,000 (US$1,630) could also be imposed.

There are also penalties for breaking rules about the sale and consumption of alcohol.

People who break rules about wearing a mask in public places face arrest and a E100 fine.

NDMA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Russell Dlamini said those in charge of gatherings, including weddings, funerals or community meetings, should take necessary steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus ( COVID-19) or face the stipulated fine.

Gathering cannot last longer than two hours and thirty minutes, unless permission had been granted by the Ministry of Home Affairs or the Deputy Prime Minister's office.

The number of people attending functions such as weddings, funerals or memorial services or an arts and entertainment event in closed areas, should not exceed 100 and 200 people if held in an open area.

Dlamini said night gatherings were still banned, including vigils.

On masks he said, 'Once you are out of your home, it is compulsory to wear the mask or when travelling in private vehicles with passengers.'

He added, 'If you board public transport without wearing a mask, you also stand to be fined E100 but drivers will pay E800 for allowing passengers who are not wearing masks on board.'

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