Mbabane: The government of the Kingdom of Eswatini has taken the decision to strengthen partial lockdown restrictions to disrupt the spread of the virus with effect from midnight Friday, January 8, 2020.
Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku released details of the new confinement on Thursday afternoon.
“Our health system is under severe strain from the increasing number of new infections and deaths. Our health workers and frontline staff are constantly being exposed to the dangers of this dreadful virus as they work tirelessly to save lives. We also need to deliberately and vigilantly protect them,” he said.
“All gatherings of all sizes are prohibited except gatherings for burials. However, memorial services are strictly prohibited,” he said.
Masuku said funerals are limited to two hours; with a maximum of 50 people.
The Acting PM said those who have passed on should be buried as soon possible; preferably within 3 days. Burials beyond 3 days after death will require a permit. Masuku said burial permissions will be obtained from the Regional Offices of the Ministry of Home Affairs. “We urge the officers responsible for the issuance of the permits to be extremely sensitive and act on the requests promptly,” he said.
Other restrictions announced by the Acting PM are as follows;
Local and International Travel
• Travelling from Eswatini to other countries will be allowed for medical attention, schooling, work and business purposes. Our border officials will carefully scrutinise all documentation to ascertain that this directive is strictly adhered to.
• Cross border freight should operate observing all SADC protocols and standards.
• Only essential approved cross border travel with special permits will be allowed. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade will be announcing the list of essential industries allowed to do cross-border trade as well as the application criteria for special permits.
• Local freight transport will not operate during curfew hours; which is between 11pm and 4am, unless they hold a permit related to COVID-19 supplies and PPE.
• Private and local public transport is restricted to 80% carrying capacity.
• Public transport availability will be at 50% or as determined by the transport working group.
• Drivers and bus conductors should ensure compliance of their passengers and contrary behaviour is offensive and liable to a fine in terms of the existing Regulations.
• Expired motor vehicle road clearance certificates, permits and licences are extended to 31 March 2021.
Motor vehicle certificate of fitness shall remain valid.
Business and Commerce
• Health protocols remain in force with 1.5 metre requirement for social distance.
• No retailers shall operate after 6pm.
• All liquor outlets will now operate from Monday to
Thursday between 11am and 4pm and shall be closed on Friday to Sunday.
• Alcohol sale is restricted to home consumption only.
Masuku said these restrictions will be reviewed after 14 days or earlier if the COVID-19 situation deteriorates.