Mbabane: Efforts by the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus may seem to be downplayed by rural communities who are reportedly adopting a relaxed attitude toward observing safety precautions against the pandemic.
The COVID-19 Regional Response Teams in collaboration with Bagcugcuteli and the community police have reported that in relation to the urban areas, rural areas are very relaxed and view the pandemic as an urban thing. They said rural folk has openly stated that the pandemic can only come to their places through town folk.
“For instance, we went to a place called Majembeni in the Hhohho region and were baffled to see a total violation of the government’s regulations,” said a response team member who preferred anonymity. He said a crowd of more than a hundred people had gathered for a soccer match and none of those people wore masks, adding that the people took advantage of the setting and went about doing businesses like selling food and beverages to the crowd.
The member said their attempt to issue a warning to the community provoked their ire and they were almost attacked by the crowd which outnumbered them, adding that called for a need from government to get the police to accompany the response teams when visiting rural communities. He said some people do not get the seriousness of the scourge and to them it is nothing, but a myth.
An officer from the ministry of health, Calvin Dlamini said there is a need to intensify education especially in the rural settings or else government’s efforts to curb the spread of the disease will be in vain as these people will at some point come to the urban areas, which are currently the high risk territories. “These people will return to their communities and risk the spread of the virus,” said the Dlamini.