By Sifiso Nhlabatsi | 2020-03-25
HIS Majesty King Mswati III last night announced a 20-day partial lockdown to restrict the spread of the menacing coronavirus which causes COVID-19.
The partial lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini last night at Cabinet offices. The lockdown starts Friday at midnight until April 16.
The lockdown according to the prime minister will see bars shutting down and gathering of over 20 people banned.
“Ingwenyama has commanded government to introduce a partial lockdown on selected sectors of the economy to curtail the spread of coronavirus with effect from March 27, 2020. His Majesty emphasises that the economy must continue to be strong and robust to ensure that the partial lockdown does not ground the kingdom,” the prime minister stated.
He said the increasing number of confirmed cases in the country calls for all Emaswati to be vigilant and responsible in all actions in order to quickly turn the tide against the rampaging virus.
The King stated that all unnecessary movements and visits outside the perimeters of homesteads or residences are restricted except to provide or acquire essential services such as healthcare, food, or banking services and for the personnel performing such services.
“We encourage all employers to allow as many employees as possible to work from home,” the King stated.
His Majesty emphasised that essential industries are expected to continue operating while observing the proper hygiene standards that will protect employees from the pandemic.
The prime minister clarified that public servants were required to come to work and the ministry of public service will issue guidelines on how to comply with the approved standards to avoid physical contact.
He said government would engage further to ensure that proper hygiene measures are complied with.
The King said the ministry of commerce would provide guidance on which industries fall under essential services.
His Majesty the King said following the announcement by the South African government of a lockdown, government advises that only goods and cargo as well as returning citizens and legal residents would be allowed through Eswatini borders.
He said returning citizens and residents would be subjected to mandatory 14 days quarantine at designated locations except for those who are able to self-isolate.
During the lockdown announced by the King, non-essential travel between towns, cities and regions of the country is not permitted, except for medical reasons or to provide or acquire essential services.
The King said transportation of food and goods would be allowed. He added that employers need to ensure that worker density in the workplace is not more than one person per square metre.
“Employers are expected to provide facilities for employees to wash their hands before entering the workplace, every two hours and upon leaving the workplace” the King said.
The King advised that electronic payments and online banking services should be used, where possible, rather than physically visiting banks or ATMs.
He said elderly grants shall be disbursed through electronic payment system henceforth.
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