MBABANE: The State Department has issued a notice warning American citizens against visiting the Kingdom of Eswatini as COVID-19 cases are very high.
This notice suggesting that the US was in possession of intelligence information suggesting that COVID-19 cases are very high in the country was issued a few hours after Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi allegedly misled the Nation saying the country recorded zero cases.
After the Health Minister issued the highly questionable statement reflecting zero COVID-19 cases, the Swazi Observer, a State owned newspaper subsequently claimed that the virus was forced to ‘bow’ as it was His Majesty King Mswati’s birthday.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Eswatini due to COVID-19, indicating a level of COVID-19 in the country,” read the notice in part dated 20 April 2021.
Reached for comments, Welcome Mdluli, the newly elected President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union(SWADNU) said the United States was in possession of accurate information suggesting that COVID-19 cases were very high in the country but Government was hiding the cases. He said as a union they are even suspecting that there were COVID-19 deaths that were hidden by the Government and there are plans to formally raise this issue with the Health Minister.
“The United States is right, in fact they are in possession of accurate information, there is no accuracy and truthfulness in the COVID-19 confirmed cases reports, these are some of the issues we want to raise with the Health Minister,” said the Nurses President.
On or around 12th April 2021, shortly after international organisations started to suspect that eSwatini was hiding COVID-19 cases, Senator Lizzie Nkosi, the Minister of Health was forced to reveal 1017 more cases that were hidden during Incwala ritual ceremony.
But before the matter attracted international attention, Senator Themba Masuku, the now Acting Prime Minister blasted this journalist on or around 05 April 2020 through a letter to the editor after this publication published an article exposing that Government was hiding the real figures of the COVID-19 cases. The DPM said it was not true that Government was hiding COVID-19 cases as the testing process and reports were monitored even by international experts.
When this publication sent questions to the Acting Prime Minister on the latest notice by the United States confirming that indeed COVID-19 remained high in the country, the Acting PM failed to respond.
A Lecturer based in the United States who happens to be a regular reader of this Swaziland News confirmed that the US was imposing strict measures to prevent the spread of the virus among its citizens.
“I was planing to visit Africa but my main worry is that once you go there it’s very difficult to come back because of the dangerous variant circulating there and high COVID-19 cases”, she said.
Eswatini, a tiny Kingdom situated in Southern Africa and ruled by King Mswati who is counted among the richest King’s in the world has about 70% of the population living below the poverty line, the health system has collapsed due to Government’s failure to provide working equipment for health workers including drugs. On Tuesday 27th April 2021, eSwatini Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi claimed eSwatini recorded only five(5) new cases taking the total number of cases to 18 448, she further confirmed that the death toll currently stands at 671.
US Embassy eSwatini(pic;US Embassy)