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PRIME MINISTER ENDS NATIONAL EMERGENCY

By Zwelethu Dlamini | 2020-11-22

Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini yesterday announced he was not extending the National Emergency which lapsed on Wednesday (November 18).

This is the first time in eight months that the PM has not extended the National Emergency announced in March in order to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Government wishes to announce that the Disaster Management (COVID19) Regulations, established according to the Disaster Management Act 2006 have been revised and are fully operational with effect from November 19.

This follows that the National Emergency ended on November 18. All citizens and residents of Eswatini, including visitors, are expected to fully abide by these regulations as COVID-19 remains a serious threat to the lives of humanity globally,” said the PM in a press statement sent yesterday.

Minister of health said the ending of the National Emergency was in line with the Disaster Management Act 2006.

 She said it did not mean that the pandemic was no longer a threat; hence it was important that it was not extended at a time when Parliament had passed the Disaster Management (COVID19) Regulations and they had become part of public health regulations.

“By law a National Emergency can be declared to last for a period not exceeding two months and can be extended if the cause of the outbreak or the pandemic is still severe.

When looking at our figures we notice that the peak was in July and August but we have seen a decline since then but if it can happen that we experience a second wave that will be severe than the phase then there could be a need for another declaration of a National  Emergency.

We may not be in National Emergency on COVID-19 but the regulations remain in place and have become part of the Public Health Regulations,” she said. The minister stated that national structures that were set up to fight the spread of coronavirus will remain in place to continue to manage COVID-19 owing to the fact that the pandemic was still a threat as other countries are experiencing a second wave which has become severe than the first wave.

Movement

“We are now living with COVID-19 the sheer movement of people and the opening of borders and the recent travels of soccer teams pose a threat as soccer is a contact sport and they go to other countries which are high risk,” she said.

The minister also stated that the national events and Christmas parties that usually take place in December also need the task teams to continue with their duties. The minister insisted on the adherence of the regulations, saying COVID-19 is not over and still kills.

“COVID-19 is not over in the world and in the country hence these teams will continue with their duties. Due to lack of fuel one would encourage anyone having flue symptoms to go to the nearest hospital and request to be tested and do not wait for 977 emergency response,” she added.

This follows that the PM had declared a national emergency since March and extended it in June and in September.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 29 of the Disaster Management Act, 2006, I, Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini, having assessed the magnitude and severity of the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic confirmed world wide, reclassify it as a national disaster and declare a National Emergency in the Kingdom of Eswatini with immediate effect for a period not exceeding two months,” reads the gazette that effected the lapsed National Emergency.

Section 29 of the Disaster Management Act, 2006,  states that: when a disaster event is threatening, the prime minister may, on the advice of the minister in consultation with the council, determine whether the event qualifies as a disaster in terms of this Act, and if it does so qualify, the prime minister in consultation with the minister shall assess the magnitude and severity or potential magnitude and severity of the disaster and  classify the disaster as a national or regional disaster and declare a national or regional emergency in accordance with subsections (4) and (5).

A declaration of a national emergency shall come into force immediately after the declaration is made, unless earlier revoked, shall continue in force for a period specified in the declaration, not exceeding two months. The duration of a national emergency may be extended by declaration under subsection (1) for further period not exceeding one month in each case.

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