Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in eSwatini (Swaziland) reinstate restrictive measures April 24 to curb spread of COVID-19. Disruptions likely.

This alert affects Eswatini (Swaziland)

This alert began 24 Apr 2020 11:21 GMT and is scheduled to expire 07 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): eSwatini (Swaziland) (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and travel disruptions

Summary
Authorities have indefinitely reinstated restrictive measures across eSwatini (Swaziland) April 24 in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). It is unclear when restrictive measures will be lifted, but they will likely remain in place through at least May 7. The reinstatement comes after authorities eased some restrictions earlier in the month;

COVID-19-related measures currently in effect include:

  • Authorities have advised all residents to stay at home except to perform essential tasks, such as healthcare, food, and financial services.
  • All non-essential travel between towns, cities and regions has been prohibited.
  • Entry and exit via the country's land borders has been limited to eSwatini citizens and residents since March 27; returning residents are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
  • Commercial passenger flights have also been suspended. Cross-border freight transport will likely continue, albeit under heightened screening measures.
  • Gatherings of more than 20 people have been prohibited.
  • Public transport will be available during this time but only for essential movements.


Security forces have been deployed to ensure the abidance of the restrictive measures. Additional measures could be introduced in the coming days, particularly if the number of in-country cases increases.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the eSwatini government correspond with similar actions taken by other nations in the region in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm business appointments, deliveries, and travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Ensure access to essential items at least through March 31, plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Ministry of Health Swaziland (eSwatini): www.gov.sz/index.php