Mbabane: Acting Prime Minister, Themba Nhlanganiso Masuklu has warned the public on a possible third wave seeing the notable upward trend of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, and that the country is entering a winter season.
Masuku was speaking on Thursday afternoon at the Cabinet offices when giving an update on the state of COVID-19 in the country.
The acting PM noted that on Wednesday the country recorded 17 COVID-19 cases, the highest number of cases recorded since March 6, 2021. The country has been recording an average of five infections a day over the last three months. As of Wednesday, the country has recorded a total of 18,618 cumulative confirmed cases and 673 deaths.
Masuku said health experts have now alerted the government that the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases has begun to increase since last week when comparing the 7-day moving average of new cases. Masuku said the numbers presented cannot be ignored as they indicate an unpleasant situation for the Kingdom of Eswatini, “particularly as the threat of a third wave continues to hang precariously over our heads.” “We need to keep in mind that a third wave is imminent and can occur anytime,” said Masuku.
Masuku said notwithstanding that, the number of admissions and deaths is remarkably low, they do not doubt that if the current upward trend continues, it is just a matter of days before the country experiences high admissions and deaths.
The fact that the country is experiencing new cases each day, indicates that the virus has continued to circulate among the people. Masuku said traveling from one point to another has been proven to be among the major causes of the widespread of the virus in communities. He noted that the virus does not travel by itself but is transported by people. As people travel to other countries, the risk of importation of variants remains high. He said they have already seen reports of the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in some regional countries where much emaSwati travel to frequently.
Masuku emphasized that cross-border travel was still strictly prohibited unless it is for business, medical and educational purposes.
Masuku also warned that as the country has entered the winter season, a period when many people develop flu and pneumonia. “As we have already entered the cold season, we do anticipate that the coronavirus will take advantage of this period to thrive and spread rapidly across the country,” he said.
Masuku urged emaSwati to continue observing all protocols as guided by the ministry of health. He said it was unfortunate that there are people who still do not follow the health regulations and protocols aimed at protecting emaSwati from this virus.
He said this was evident during mass gatherings for events such as weddings, memorials, parties, and some entertainment events, including the recent protest actions where we saw some protesters blatantly refusing to wear face masks, and continuing to converge in crowds in small spaces, where transmission of COVID-19 is highly possible.
He said the type of reckless behaviour will have negative consequences which will present a perfect platform to accelerate the emergence of the third wave of the pandemic.
The acting Prime Minister urged emaSwati to remain vigilant at all times and not allow complacency to creep in if we are to emerge victorious against the claws of this enemy.
By following the measures at all times Masuku said we would be allowing our health system to cope with treating those admitted and prevent more deaths. Every health system is delicate and requires all of us to dedicate our efforts to ensure it is not overwhelmed.