Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Preventative restrictions to remain in effect across eSwatini (Swaziland) through at least May 6 due to coronavirus activity.

This alert affects Eswatini (Swaziland)

This alert began 15 Apr 2020 21:44 GMT and is scheduled to expire 06 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): eSwatini (Swaziland) (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 6
  • Impact: Business and travel disruptions

Summary
Nationwide restrictions that came into force in eSwatini (Swaziland) March 27 as part of a partial lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will remain in place through at least May 6. The government announced the three-week extension on April 15.

COVID-19-related measures currently in effect include border restrictions, quarantine procedures, and a partial lockdown. Entry and exit via the country's land borders have 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. Nonessential travel and public gatherings of more than 20 people have been prohibited.

Authorities have advised all residents to stay at home except to perform essential tasks. 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): http://www.gov.sz/index.php?option=com_content&id=267&Itemid=403