Swaziland: Second Swaziland Cabinet Minister Dies From Coronavirus

A second Swaziland (eSwatini) Cabinet minister has died of coronavirus.

Makhosi Vilakati, Minister of Labour and Social Security, died in hospital in neighbouring South Africa on Saturday (23 January 2021), the Swazi Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku said in a statement.

In an earlier statement Masuku said Vilakati had been taken to hospital in South Africa 'for specialist treatment procedures not available in the country [Swaziland]'.

Masuku confirmed Vilakati suffered health complications due to a coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. No further details have been released.

Vilakati died on the day that Christian Ntshangase, Minister of Public Service, was buried. He had died of coronavirus a week earlier.

Makhosi Vilakati

In December Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini also died of coronavirus complications. He was diabetic.

Former Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Winnie Magagula also died of coronavirus on 15 January 2021.

Separately, on Thursday Lizzie Nkosi, Minister of Health, reported Swaziland was in the grip of a second wave of the pandemic; deaths were at an all-time high and the virus was transmitting at a faster rate during the second wave.

She said in a statement, 'Yesterday's report showed 346 new cases and 24 new deaths. Both figures are at an all-time high since the pandemic begun last year. Projections of the second wave show that we will continue to experience a rising number of infections and a reduction is dependent on our behaviour to adhering to the COVID-19 regulations and directives that have been released in line with the current partial lockdown announced by Government.'

She added, 'Most of our cases, unfortunately, are in the vulnerable populations i.e. people living with other pre-existing conditions; which has resulted in the increased fatality rate. It, therefore, leads to a majority of the deaths occurring in people living with comorbidities; which include diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or a combination of both, plus other long-term illnesses that impact negatively on the immune system.'

She said, 'Families should note that the virus is circulating swiftly among households; since a majority of households in the Kingdom have more than six persons under one roof.'

As of Sunday there had been 479 deaths from coronavirus in Swaziland and 14,484 people had tested positive, according to official Ministry of Health figures.

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