Swaziland Relaxes Coronavirus Lockdown Amid Confusion Over Vaccines and Fear of Third Wave

The Swaziland (eSwatini) Government has announced the reopening of schools and a relaxation of coronavirus restrictions, even though vaccinations have been delayed and there continues to be a threat of a third wave of the virus in the kingdom.

Themba Masuku, the Swazi Acting Prime Minister, on Thursday (18 March 2021) announced the reopening of schools; reopening of religious gatherings; resumption of community gatherings; reopening of low-contact sports and the resumption of the sale of alcohol.

Schools would start to reopen on 29 March, but Masuku did not announce details of how this would happen. But he did say testing, treating and isolation centres had been set up in all regions of the kingdom to be accessed by pupils and teachers.

Religious gatherings can restart on 19 March. Weddings of up to 100 people under coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols would also be allowed from the same date.

In a statement he said, ‘Sporting codes being allowed to resume operations are: angling, athletics, cricket, cue sports, cycling, darts, equestrian, golf, shooting, tennis, teqball, chess, gymnastics, swimming as well as Premier League and National First Division football. The reopening of football also covers the operations of all junior and senior football national teams.’

The sale of alcohol would be allowed from 22 March 2021. Liquor outlets would be allowed to operate from Monday to Thursday between 9am and 5pm. Alcohol consumption remained strictly for home consumption.

Public transport would be allowed at 100 percent seating capacity with no passengers standing with effect from Friday 19 March 2020.