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EXPECT 7 000 NEW CASES BY MONTH END

By BY ZWELETHU DLAMINI | 2021-01-10

Eswatini is expected to record up to 18 188 cases of COVID-19 by January 29 while 70 more graves of COVID-19 related deaths are expected in the next three weeks. This is according to projections made by the ministry of health through their epidemiology department which was shared by the director of health services yesterday. If people continue to neglect the COVID-19 regulations and preventive measures a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths over the next several weeks is expected. The numbers underscore a sobering reality as Eswatini health system is overwhelmed. These figures are believed to have forced the acting prime minister to announce the partial lockdown to try slowing the spread of the virus as relaxed regulations seemed to have made matters worse with each day dozens of deaths are reported. The current daily figures of new cases and deaths tallies with the graph indicating rapid spread of the virus. Health officials said if the recently introduced partial lockdown will have any impact in the rate of the spread the cases could be at the moderate projections. The moderate transmission projections indicate that there would be 14 964 cases by January 29 while the slow rate would have seen the country recording 11 670 which may be surpassed by the end of the week. The death rate has already surpassed the projections for the entire month if the mortality was slower or moderate. As per the projections by January 29 if Emaswati adhered to the regulations to the latter the cumulative deaths would be at 224 and could have reached 287 by month end but by Friday night the cumulative covid-19 deaths were at 279. Director of Health Services Dr Vusi Magagula said the statistics were bound to change for better or for worse depending on how people behave. “The number of cases and mortality from the pandemic in the next three weeks depends on how fast we progress, which is determined by how as communities follow the laid down prevention procedures. If more people follow the prevention measures the rate will be low but if they behave otherwise the cases will shoot up,” he said. He added that the lack of resources especially human resources would also be a contributing factor on the mortality rate. Magagula stated that among the preventive measures was thatanybody entering a shop has to observe the preventive measures of keeping 1.5 to two metre distance from each other. He said shops should also limit the number of people entering the shop at any one time. He emphasised on washing of hands with soap and running water or sanitising regularly saying wearing a mask correctly all the time is mandatory This month’s projections indicates that the infection rate and death rate will be double that of last month where the figures were at 183 COVID-19-related deaths and 9 229 new cumulative cases. Just as the ministry had projected the cases recorded last month were over 9 000 by the end of December.

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