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MBABANE – It’s back to square one.  Government has reversed the relaxed partial lockdown, which it announced last week and has reverted to the initial partial lockdown where only employees in essential services were allowed to go to work and non-essential to work from home.

The cancellation or the removal of the relaxed measures was announced by Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini yesterday and will be effective from midnight (tonight).

The partial lockdown was one of the measures government put in place to fight the spread of the coronavirus.    
This means that from tomorrow, all the measures which had been effected at the start of the partial lockdown on March 27, 2020 will now be in full force.
Speaking during a press conference at the Cabinet Offices, Dlamini said after wide consultations, government had taken the decision to remove the relaxed measures.


As a result, guidelines of the relaxed operation of public transport were removed and the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe, is expected to announce the new set of transport guidelines today.

This effectively means that from tomorrow, public transport will not be operating normal hours as has been witnessed this past week.
 Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Nxumalo is also expected to announce this morning which businesses can continue to operate during the next two weeks of the partial lockdown.

During the first phase of the partial lockdown, only 11 services were listed as essential and could operate, but last week, the ministry added 15 more industries, stating that they were low and medium-risk.

However, all this changed yesterday as the PM stated that over the week of the extended partial lockdown, they had observed with concern that complacency among the populace was creeping in and that an increasing number of people were now casual and lacked vigilance in preventing the transmission of the virus.
The premier said everyone was learning on the go and as a result, now and again, government would review the measures to adjust to the situation on the ground at any particular time. 

He said they were aware of the negative effects of COVID-19 and would adapt and respond effectively to preserve the lives of emaSwati.   
“The level of compliance to the measures aimed at curtailing the rapid spread of COVID-19 has dramatically dropped,” said Dlamini.


The PM said the pronouncement of the relaxed lockdown last week had been meant to balance the scales between protecting the lives of emaSwati and ensuring access to the basic necessities of life.
The PM said new information had emerged showing that positive cases had almost doubled from last week’s 16 to 31 (as at noon yesterday). 


“The number of people leaving their homes and places of residence for non-essential services has spiked,” said Dlamini.
He said as a result, people were potentially exposing themselves and others to COVID-19.
Dlamini said it had almost become business as usual in the cities, towns and communities yet the partial lockdown measures were still in force.

The PM said security forces would be vigilant in enforcing compliance to these preventative measures to help the country buy more time to strengthen its response and capacity to flatten the curve.
The PM further said government had taken lessons from the experiences of other countries across the world at this unprecedented time in history.  

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