King of Swaziland in self-isolation over COVID-19 with other cases

The monarch of Swaziland (eSwatini), King Mswati III, has been reported to be in self-isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic. This was confirmed by Lusendvo Fakudze, the Ludzidzini Palace Governor. According to Fakudze, no one was allowed to see the King. He would not comment on reports circulating on social media that King Mswati was no longer in Swaziland.

Meanwhile, the Swazi Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi reported that three more people in the kingdom had tested positive for the virus, also known as covid-19. The known total of positive cases is four. One person who earlier tested positive has since recovered.

In a statement Nkosi said 37 test results had been received. Swaziland has no resources and tests have to be sent to neighbouring South Africa for analysis. The population of Swaziland is about 1.3 million people.

Nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers continue to refuse to treat patients in hospitals and clinics until they get personal protection equipment such as masks, gloves and gowns. They also lack soap, paper towels and hand sanitisers in toilets and consultation rooms.

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Among the facilities affected are Mbabane Government Hospital, Mankayane, Mkhuzeni, Raleigh Fitkin Memorial hospitals and Lobamba Clinic.

The Swazi Government said money had been made available to buy equipment and it now was waiting for suppliers to tender for purchase contracts. No date has been announced for the equipment to arrive at hospitals and clinics.

King Mswati has already declared a state of emergency and schools, colleges and universities are closed. Gatherings of 50 or more people are banned and travel restrictions are in place.

On Monday (23 March 2020) Minister of Tinkhundla Administration David Ngcamphalala said, ‘Government has observed with disappointment that gatherings are continuing as usual. We request communities to adhere to the set guidelines during community gatherings such as weddings, funerals, community meetings, church services and family gatherings.’

He added police would be sent to enforce the ban on gatherings if requested by regional administrators.

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