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26 Mar 2020 | 07:25 PM UTC

Eswatini: Partial lockdown comes into effect March 27 /update 1

Government orders nationwide partial lockdown from March 27 to prevent spread of COVID-19; all commercial flights suspended until further notice

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Event

A partial lockdown came into effect in Eswatini on Friday, March 27, to prevent further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. The country's borders will be shut to all but goods, cargo, returning citizens, and legal residents effective immediately. All returning residents will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine in a designated location. As of Friday, all commercial flights out of Eswatini will be suspended until further notice.

Additionally, from Thursday, March 26, domestic travel restrictions will be in place for 20 days, banning non-essential travel between towns, cities, and regions of the country except for food transportation and medical reasons. Public transportation will only operate for essential movement. Only 20 people will be allowed in restaurants or banks, and gatherings of more than 20 people are prohibited. Security forces will be deployed to enforce the lockdown.

As of March 26, six cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.