Coronavirus: eSwatini cancels King’s birthday celebrations

APA-Mbabane (eSwatini)

eSwatini has cancelled next month's celebrations to mark King Mswati III's 52nd birthday and ordered the closure of schools as it joins the growing number of African countries that have taken measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini on Tuesday announced that festivities to celebrate the king's birthday set for April 19 have been cancelled.

“The budget set aside for the King’s birthday celebration will be re-directed to the fight against the coronavirus,” Dlamini said.

He said the government has also decided to close about 1,000 schools and tertiary institutions.

“I have been commanded by His Majesty King Mswati III to invoke section 29 of the Disaster Management Act 2006, having assessed the magnitude and severity of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic to declare a State of Emergency with immediate effect for a period not exceeding two months,” the prime minister said.

Other activities suspended included public gatherings involving more than 50 people as well as Army Day celebrations scheduled for March 20 and Easter festivities.

The eSwatini authorities have also revoked visas issued to foreigners from coronavirus-hit countries, are subjecting returning citizens to mandatory isolation for 14 days; and bar hospital visits.

Several African countries have instituted similar measures during the past week as coronavirus wreaks havoc around the world. These include Kenya, Namibia and South Africa.


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