By Sifiso Dlamini | 2020-03-17
PRIME Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini is set to issue a statement regarding a way forward, amid the first recorded case of coronavirus.
Ovr the past weekend, government confirmed one Liswati tested positive for the virus and stated that 12 other cases were declared negative with seven more suspected ones under investigation. With the nation concerned about a possible outbreak, Members of Parliament have requested government to declare her position regarding the matter.
This follows South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of COVID-19 a national disaster after the number of cases rose to 61 by Sunday.
The neighbouring country has resorted to closing down 35 ports of entry with six connecting Eswatini.
Yesterday, Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo moved a motion in the House of Assembly requesting the prime minister to declare government’s position with regards to a possible outbreak of the coronavirus in the country. Khumalo said Emaswati were worried and needed government to put them at ease as a number of people did not know what to expect.
He enquired if government was also considering locking down the country while monitoring the situation.
Khumalo mentioned an encounter he had with a fellow church member who put him in the spotlight and openly stated that they no longer had confidence in government.
“The prime minister needs to act as the leader he is as the country looks up to him,” he said. He said it was not safe to depend on information obtained from other countries and the situation drastically changed when there was a confirmed case in the country. There was a need for government to do something about the matter as people were panicking. MP Khumalo said as representatives of the masses, they were constantly being bombarded with questions by concerned members of the public and it was unfortunate that many looked up to them yet they also had no idea what would happen next. He said it was imperative for the office of the prime minister to inform parliament and the nation at large as to what would happen next.
Khumalo urged the prime minister to provide parliament with a fully detailed statement of what would happen regarding the country’s borders as well as gatherings such as churches and the upcoming Easter holidays as well as the King’s birthday.
The prime minister welcomed Khumalo’s submission and said this issue was a difficult one for everyone.
He said government has been monitoring the situation closely and it was on Friday when the first case was confirmed.
The premier stated that the South African government made their announcement on Sunday evening after confirming 61 cases.
“I would like to assure the House that it will not be long before we issue a ministerial statement on the matter which will be done tomorrow,” he said.
He said government was making some measures to prevent the spread of the virus and closely assessing the situation and would let the nation know what to do.
Dlamini said it was encouraging that the MPs were concerned and cared as the whole nation was. He further assured the nation that government was taking the issue seriously and said this was no time to be divided but instead everyone should come together not only as a country but as Africa and the world at large.
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