Mbabane: The Ministry of Health has barred indoor gatherings this festive season, saying without any doubt they are conduits for perpetuating the coronavirus pandemic which has hit the country like a heavy knock on the knee.
Talking to Independent News, Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi mentioned that their research as the health sector has proven that enclosed places are prime channels for the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, and hence they are urging the public to avoid sticking together but rather remain outdoors.
The minister stated that government should not be tempted to come up with new regulations that would inhibit people from enjoying themselves this festive season, but people should know what they need to do, even as they have been engaged plenty of times on how to control the spread of the virus. “This will be a time of family reunions, joy and happiness where people will meet relatives and old friends but we should send a strong warning that they should not be reckless and breach the laid down conditions or else they will spoil what is meant to be beautiful,” said the minister.
“With the progress we have made as a country to cut down on the numbers of people who contract the virus we cannot afford to regress,” said the minister, adding that it is upon the Emaswati to guide themselves and ensure that government’s stipulated regulations are adhered to. She encouraged the continued wearing of the masks as well as keeping the social distancing, which are the two main regulations that are sure to see the contracting of the virus if they are not followed.
Nkosi said that during such times as end of year parties there shouldn’t be a need for the armed forces like the police to linger around all to ensure the adherence to the regulations, but that people should consult their consciences and do what is right. “The time has come whereby people will grow up and do what they need to do without being followed around,” said Nkosi.
E25 000 fine
On the other hand, last week, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) issued a Revised Disaster Management (Coronavirus-Covid-19) Regulations, 2020, saying offenders will pay dearly should they be found to be in violation.
NDMA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Russell Dlamini made mention that anyone found to have violated the Revised Covid-19 Regulations, which came into effect from November 19, will pay a fine of E25 000, failing which he/she will be face a jail term of two years.
According to the Regulations under Part III; Gatherings (8), a person who contravenes a provision of this part shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding E25 000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.
The regulations state that a bottle store, wine and malt, nightclub or pub, shall sell liquor for home consumption only and shall operate from Monday to Friday between 10am to 6pm and on Saturday from 9am to 2pm.
“All gatherings shall not last for more than two hours and thirty minutes, but an exception will be made to those who would be granted permission by the minister of home affairs after applying,” said the NDMA CEO.
Weddings, funerals and memorial services or an arts and entertainment event should not exceed 100 and 200 people if held in an open area.
Night gatherings remain banned, including night vigils and funerals should not harbor more than 100 people, while having their masks on especially in public spaces. Anyone found to be in breach of the regulations will pay a fine of E 100 or face arrest. Drivers will pay a fine of E800 or face arrest if they allow passengers to board public transport without a mask on.
|Masks (Public transport drivers)||E800|