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Eswatini joins Afreximbank as 51st participating state

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Afreximbank
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) in Southern Africa has formally joined the bank.

Mr Obi Emekekwue, the Director and Global Head of Communications and Events Management in Afreximbank, said this in a statement on Thursday.

He said that the bank’s President, Prof. Benedict Oramah, signed on behalf of the bank while Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini of Eswatini signed for his country.

Oramah was quoted as expressing the bank’s appreciation for the “milestone occasion”, which he described as the result of years of ongoing and persistent engagement between the bank and Eswatini.

Oramah said the bank was already working with the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Trade of Eswatini to identify priority sectors and transactions which it could support.

He said the bank would support in the acquisition of wagons for Eswatini Railway, equipment import facility for Swazi Mobile and support for the planned export processing zone, among others.

According to him, the bank will shortly be sending a business development mission to Mbabane (the capital) to urgently complete the transactions that had been identified.

Mr Promise Msibi, the Permanent Representative of Eswatini to the African Union and the country’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, who represented Dlamini at the ceremony, expressed regret that Eswatini was only just joining the bank.

Dlamini commended Afreximbank for its effort to introduce a Pan-African Payment and Settlement Platform.

He said that platform would greatly improve the quality of life of Africans, especially in the context of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

He said that Eswatini was positioning itself to host the secretariat of the AfCFTA and that the payment platform would facilitate the smooth takeoff of the secretariat.

He urged Afreximbank to move toward a quick implementation of the programme that had been identified in Eswatini.

Afreximbank is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra-and extra-African trade.

The bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors.

The bank is headquartered in Cairo.
JI/TA

 

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Coronavirus – Eswatini COVID-19 essential services as regulated

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Subsequent to the statement by His Excellency Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini on the 1st April 2020, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade hereby prescribes the essential indutries that will continue to operate during the period of the partial lockdown.

This is an attempt to mitigate the spread of the global pandemic that is COVID-19 and is line with the requirements of Section 23 Sub-section 1 of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) Regulations 2020; which says “the Minister responsible for Commerce shall prescribe essential industries which may continue to operate during the national emergency”.

For those trading with our neighbours South Africa, they should note that South Africa has imposed further restrictions on their trade regulations and will, therefore, not accept any trade in non-essential goods

All businesses and entities that are not involved in the manufacturing, supply or provision of essential goods or services shall, from Friday the 3rd April 2020, cease to operate for the duration of the partial lockdown.

The essential services are as follows:

  1. Food and Agriculture; which includes:
  • Those involved in the food value chain
  1. Retail and consumer goods suppliers, which include:
  • Consumer Goods suppliers
  • Food Retailers e.g. food outlets, raw material suppliers and farmers
  • Those involved in the transportation, logistics and packaging of consumer goods
  • Other Retail Goods that support the medical industry e.g. bedding, linen and emergency clothing for hospitals, health workers and those caring for the sick
  1. Network Infrastructure; which include:
  • Water, waste water and sanitation
  • Electricity suppliers
  • Renewable Energy suppliers
  • Gas suppliers
  • Fuel suppliers
  • Law enforcement
  • Defence, Safety and Security
  • Waste disposal
  • Fire and Emergency services
  • Mining and power stations
  1. Medical and Health; which include:
  • Hospitals
  • Devices and Equipment
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Funders
  • Doctors, nurses, paramedics e.t.c.
  1. Forestry and Sawmills
  • For the production of disposable, health and hygiene products including toilet paper as well as for packaging for food and the health supply chain.
  1. IT Systems and Telecommunications
  2. Finance and Insurance
  3. Tourism and Hospitality
  4. Communications e.g. Media
  5. Hardware Shops
  6. Public Transport and cross-border trade transport
  • These will operate under the guidelines that Government has issued.
  • For cross-border transport, this will be restricted to essential services as defined in Eswatini, South Africa and Mozambique

All essential services are still required to adhere to the directives and guidelines issued in respect of hygiene conditions and limitations of exposure to persons with COVID-19 in terms of Section 23 Sub-section 2 of the COVID-19 Regulations 2020.

These include the limitation of gatherings to 20, the practice of social distancing and the disinfection of work spaces and trolleys as well as sanitisation of workers and consumers.

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Coronavirus – Eswatini: Partial Lockdown Update – COVID-19

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The Kingdom of Eswatini entered its sixth day of the Partial Lockdown initiated to halt the spread of the coronavirus. With 850 000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 41000 deaths globally, this virus is proving to be among the biggest health challenges the world has faced in many years. This is a highly contagious virus that has the tendency to spread like wildfire across communities and countries.

Eswatini remains with nine confirmed COVID-19 cases, and at high risk and high alert. The Kingdom is currently under a status of National Emergency. The decision to activate a partial lockdown was crucial in flattening the curve and ensuring that the number of infected does not balloon to over burden our already strained health system. The past six days has been a period of many lessons with false starts and uncertainty is some instance as EmaSwati adapted to a change of lifestyle never experienced before.

I take this opportunity to thank all citizens who have heeded to the call to stop unnecessary travel and stay at home in adherence to the partial lockdown measures.

Experience from other countries has taught us that there is no better intervention to restrain the spread of the virus than to keep it contained in one place instead of spreading from community to community.

The virus does not move in itself but people move it and thus spread the risk of infecting others. The partial lockdown allows us to travel only for food supplies, medication, and for the workers in essential services. All other travel remains strictly prohibited.

May I take this opportunity to appreciate His Majesty King Mswati III and Ingwenyama for his incisive leadership and direction at this challenging time, and for calling for a National Day of Prayer which was successfully held on Sunday 29 March 2020. Thousands of EmaSwati, in and out of the country, joined the prayer through broadcast channels and Government social media platforms. As a nation we have no doubt that through prayer all things are possible.

My appreciation also goes to the Deputy Prime Minister for the role he has played in effectively leading the National Emergency response. The National Emergency Task teams, Regional and Sectorial Committees have accepted this responsibility with speed and commitment since the National Emergency was declared.

Government continues to pursue all avenues that will lessen the negative effects of this partial lockdown on the pockets of the populace. To cushion EmaSwati from the economic impact of this period and the devasting effects of the coronavirus, Government has made several interventions. These include:

  • The Central Bank has reduced the discount rate by 100 basis points. This reduces the cost of debt by 1%.
  • Government has reduced the price of fuel with effect from midnight 2 April 2020.
  • The increase in the price of electricity has been suspended for two months.
  • The renewal of motor vehicles registration has been extended without attracting penalties to the 29th May.
  • Taxpayers projecting losses are expected to file loss provisional returns and no payment will be required.
  • Government is engaging the transport sector with a view to assist with a small subsidy to ensure the industry to continue transporting workers in essential services and citizens embarking on essential travel.

We are thankful to the cooperation we are getting from the transport industry in this difficult period for them and business as a whole. Government further appreciates law enforcement agencies for ensuring that the public complies with the partial lockdown measures.

May I emphasize the importance of allowing only essential travel and essential businesses to operate. We are cognisant of the massive economic impact that this partial lockdown will have on business. This decision was not taken lightly. We are called upon to prioritise the health of our people at all times. No one will work in these businesses if EmaSwati would succumb to this virus. The lives of all EmaSwati matters and cannot be compromised. We therefore plead for patience and understanding as we traverse together through this difficult path and challenging times for our economy and country.

It has been observed that while the virus does not generally discriminate in terms of age, it has the tendency to substantially affect the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Therefore, it is important for Government to protect our elderly from being exposed to this virus especially in the issuance of the elderly grant where large numbers of people gather at one time. Government has taken the decision to pay all elderly grants electronically with immediate effect. This is done in collaboration with Eswatini Post and Telecommunication Corporation, MTN Eswatini and Eswatini Mobile. The distribution of grants is going well so far. The elderly are very appreciative of this initiative and clearly this is a significant step forward towards Vision 2022.

Government has also approved a preliminary costed procurement plan for the COVID-19 Eswatini National Emergency Response after wide consultation with stakeholders. The Resource Mobilization team has been able to raise E18 million towards the COVID-19 Response. This would not have come at a better time as financial resources are urgently needed to procure more health equipment and material so desperately needed to effectively manage the spread of the virus. An assessment of the overall amount of financial resources required to fight this pandemic is underway and the public will be informed. To this end, Government fully appreciates the generosity of all our international friends and local companies that have already donated towards the response.

To cope with the demands of halting the spread of coronavirus, Government has recruited several health personnel. They include eight doctors, 145 nurses, environmental health specialists, paramedics, orderlies and others. A total of 1,007 nurses from all levels, 147 medical doctors and over 3,000 rural health motivators have been trained on COVID-19. Training is an important element in the fight against the virus and will be an ongoing exercise. Our rural health motivators are crucial in reaching out to communities and helping with the required information to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Forty water tanks with a capacity of 5000 litres each have been procured and distributed to various communities in the country to provide running water to wash hands.

The priority has been rural areas which are experiencing water shortages. We are aware this is not enough and Government continues with the programme to bring clean water closer to all EmaSwati. 

Government is in contact with EmaSwati in high risk countries ensuring their wellbeing and safety at this time.

This pandemic continues to test our resolve as a nation and we have the opportunity to leverage on its effects to uplift our communities. Once again let us be all vigilant and follow all the partial lockdown measures and health precautions as provided by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation. The public is advised to rejects myths and conspirancy theories that seem to dominate the social media platforms.

As we observe the partial lockdown and restrict unnecessary movement and stay at home, let us remember to follow the precautionary guidelines as provided by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation. These include:

  • Our home environment should be kept clean and safe and all high touch surfaces must be disinfected regularly.
  • Wash hands regularly with running water and soap. Help the young to also appropriately wash hands. In the absence of water and soap, the public is advised to use sanitizers.
  • Stop shaking hands and use other non touch methods of greeting.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1 metre from each other.
  • Avoid touching your face (mouth, nose, eyes) and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Take care of the vulnerable, especially senior citizens and those with underlying respiratory conditions who are more susceptible to the coronavirus infection.
  • If you experience flu like symptoms (fever, difficulty breathing, cough, high temperature) visit your nearest health centre facility or call the Emergency Medical Services Toll free line 977.

The message is clear, stay at home and save yourself, family, community and the country.

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Coronavirus – Eswatini: COVID-19 Update (31st March 2020)

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The Ministry of Health has received a total of 80 COVID-19 results, of which 65 were negative and 15 rejected because they did not meet case definition standards.

The country remains with nine confirmed COVID-19 cases of which the index case has tested negative and has been discharged.

The Ministry of Health wishes to emphasize the importance of cooperating with health advice especially on self-isolation. All those given this advice are expected to:

  • Stay alone in their rooms, away from the rest of the family.
  • Use a mask if they have flu and visitors should not be allowed into the patient’s room, until discharged.
  • Use dedicated linen and eating utensils for the patient and these items should be cleaned with soap and water after use and may be re-used instead of being discarded.
  • The patients is not expected to travel to societal gatherings and public places.

Further emphasis is made on the practice of regular handwash with soap and water as well as covering mouth and nose using tissue when coughing or sneezing.

The Ministry of Health will remain vigilant, providing continuous updates to the nation on further developments.

RESULTS UPDATE FOR CONFIRMED CASES

DATE

CASE

NO.

GENDER

AGE

TRAVEL HISTORY

NATIONALITY

CLINICAL CONDITION

14-03-20

001

F

33yrs

USA, Lesotho

LiSwati, Manzini

Treated, Tested

negative, Discharged

22-03-20

002

M

42yrs

Italy

LiSwati, Hhohho

Uncomplicated illness, admitted, first follow up test negative and awaiting second follow up test

22-03-20

003

M

31yrs

None, history of contact with visitors from China

LiSwati,

Manzini

Uncomplicated illness, admitted, first follow up test negative and awaiting second follow up test

22-03-20

004

F

55yrs

RSA-Gauteng Province

Expatriate

Uncomplicated illness, home care

23-03-20

005

M

52yrs

USA

Expatriate

Uncomplicated illness, home care

25-03-20

006

F

43yrs

RSA-Gauteng Province

LiSwati, Hhohho

Uncomplicated illness, home care

26-03-20

007

F

29yrs

RSA-Gauteng

Province

LiSwati, Hhohho

Uncomplicated illness, home care

26-03-20

008

F

24yrs

RSA-KZN Province

LiSwati, Hhohho

Uncomplicated illness, admitted

26-03-20

009

M

33yrs

RSA-KZN province

LiSwati,

Manzini

Uncomplicated illness, admitted

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Coronavirus – Eswatini: Prime Minister’s Statement

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Today the Kingdom of Eswatini joined the rest of the world and more than 2.5 billion people globally to observe a partial lockdown and, for others, a full lockdown – to combat a common enemy, the coronavirus. This is unchartered territory for the Kingdom and the world, a time when our resolve and collective effort to control the spread of a virus that has gained unsavoury reputation is put to the test.

The partial lockdown that has been effected across the country today is a necessary step towards containing the spread of this evidently stubborn coronavirus. Clearly it brings to the fore a lot of inconveniences never experienced before, hurts business and our economy, deters the free movement of people and in extension spreads a lot of anxiety and panic among the populace.

However, we can learn from the experiences of other countries which have felt the brunt of this pandemic over the past months. We can also draw advice from medical experts who insist that limiting the movement of people and staying at home, presents us with the best chance of saving lives and stopping an uncontrollable spread which can quickly reach all corners of the Kingdom.

The measures announced on Monday are now in full force and we expect all EmaSwati and residents of this country to fully comply and abide by them without exception. The irresponsible actions of a few can put all of us in danger. The cost to our economy is high but the health and safety of citizens is paramount.

Currently Eswatini has eight confirmed coronavirus cases and more tests are still pending. The rising number of positive cases is a cause for concern and an indication that we have no option but to be more attentive, tolerant and receptive to all the control and prevention measures that have been put in place.

May I remind EmaSwati that the measures being implemented for the next 20 days include suspending all unnecessary travel within cities, towns, communities and beyond, except for instances of providing or acquiring essential services such as healthcare, food, or banking services. All gatherings of more than 20 people are prohibited. Gatherings that meet this requirement are expected to observe proper hygiene standards and social distancing of 1-2 metres is followed, among others.

Borders are closed for non essential travel. Only goods and cargo as well as returning citizens and legal residents are allowed movement through the borders. Government will ensure that all essential goods and services continue to be available in the country over the partial lockdown period.  Returning citizens and residents are reminded that they will be subjected to mandatory 14 days quarantine at designated locations except for those who are able to self-isolate. More specifically, may I strongly advise citizens returning from South Africa and other high risk countries to immediately self quarantine for 14 days without exception. During the self quarantine they should avoid physical contact with family members and stay alone in well ventilated rooms.

Government has instructed employers to allow as many as possible employees to work from home. Over the week, several Ministers offered guidelines of what is expected from both employers and employees for the duration of this partial lockdown period.  Essential businesses should continue operating at full strength with proper adherence to hygiene standards and all the relevant measures of social distancing that will protect employees from the pandemic. A list of essential services has already been published by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade and includes health, banking, security, energy, water services, media and others. The full list is available in the Government website or you can call the free toll number 8001002.

Businesses that are not included in the list of essential services are expected to scale down their operations and, most importantly, meet the appropriate health and hygiene standards, failing which they risk closure. We continue to engage business to cushion the effects of this partial lockdown on their businesses, and more especially, to ensure full compliance to the partial lockdown measures.

Government continues to engage all other relevant sectors as we implement the response strategies to this pandemic. This also includes Parliament.

I am happy to report that Parliament has passed Coronavirus regulations that will enforce adherence to both the National Emergency declaration actions and the partial lockdown measures. Security forces are already on the ground ensuring compliance with the regulations and have the powers to disperse gatherings of more than 20 people and enforce processes that will lead to litigation of defaulters. Chiefs, traditional authorities and community police will lead the way in ensuring total compliance in communities.

Government has completed setting up the necessary structures to fast track implementation of the National Response to the outbreak of the COVID 19. These structures which include the Inter-Ministerial Emergency Management Committee, National Emergency Task Force and the Technical working group have already started intervening on behalf of government. Regional Administration Offices have also activated regional disaster management teams to the lowest level of administration to raise awareness on coronavirus and improve preparedness and prevention of the scourge. Together with the security forces, these committees have made a network across the country that is well coordinated.

Regional Administrators are working with Chiefs and traditional authorities to raise awareness at community level as well as to protect families from contracting the virus. The Resource mobilization Committee has started receiving donations for the National Response. These resources are being put into good use. Hand washing facilities have been provided to most municipalities and to key government institutions.

Delivery of important health equipment and material is continuing and more orders have been placed to meet the need.  

Government through the Ministry of Health continues to respond the COVID 19 outbreak through the implementation of a Health response plan.

Surveillance of the condition has been boosted by the recruitment of more officers in the environmental health sector who shall continue manning ports of entry including working together with the security forces. Thermal scanners have been added and more are still awaited to ensure adequate coverage.

The Ministry of Health is intensifying contact tracing to provide information on the cases to be followed and monitor the development of symptoms to inform need for testing. Training of health care workers who are in the frontline is ongoing. This partial lockdown is very essential to break the transmission of the virus. Disruption of the spread of the virus will go a long way into defeating this global pandemic.

It is therefore crucial to re-emphasize the need to adhere to restrictions of the partial lockdown particularly with reference to limiting movement to only essential travel. Every citizen and resident is urged to abide by the measures to ensure that the country contains the spread of the virus. We must acknowledge the thousands of citizens who have taken these restrictions in their stride.

May I also take this opportunity to emphasize that His Majesty King Mswati III has declared tomorrow, Saturday 28 March 2020, a fasting day and Sunday, a National Prayer day.  We expect all EmaSwati across all faiths to join in the fasting and prayer as we seek the guidance of the Almighty God to help us sail through this challenge faced by the nation and the world. It is through prayer that God protects us from all challenges. The Book of Philippians 4:6-7 tells that, “Be anxious for nothing, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need with a thankful heart: and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” May I thank Their Majesties for leading the charge to come closer to God.

This pandemic has presented us with the opportunity to act in common purpose in order to protect each other as EmaSwati, but not to panic. It is not the time to spread false information on social media. We have no reason to panic if we are responsible and follow all the guidelines as provided for by Government and the World Health Organisation.

As we observe the partial lockdown and restrict unnecessary movement and stay at home, let us remember to follow the precautionary guidelines as provided by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation. These include:

  • Our home environment should be kept clean and safe and all high touch surfaces must be disinfected regularly.
  • Wash hands with running water and soap or use alcohol based sanitisers.
  • Stop shaking hands and use other non touch methods of greeting.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1 metre from each other.
  • Avoid touching your face (mouth, nose, eyes) and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Take care of the vulnerable, especially senior citizens and those with underlying respiratory conditions who are more susceptible to the coronavirus infection.
  • If you experience flu like symptoms (fever, difficulty breathing, cough, high temperature) visit your nearest health centre facility or call the Emergency Medical Services Toll free line 977.

Thank you.

Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini
PRIME MINISTER
27 March 2020

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Coronavirus – Eswatini: The Kingdom of Eswatini joined the rest of the world to observe a partial lockdown

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Statement by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini:

“Today the Kingdom of Eswatini joined the rest of the world and more than 2.5 billion people globally to observe a partial lockdown & for others, a full lockdown – to combat a common enemy, the COVID-19.”

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Coronavirus – Eswatini: COVID-19 Update

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The Ministry of Health has received a total of 74 COVID-19 results, of which three (3) were positive and the rest negative.

  1. A 43 year old female with a history of travel to South Africa (Gauteng Province), who is clinically stable.
  2. A 29 year old female with a history of travel to South Africa (Gauteng Province) recently. She is clinically stable.
  3. A 24 year old female with a history of travel to South Africa (KZN Province), who is clinically stable.

Contact tracing is ongoing and treatment in isolation has been initiated on all the patients.

The Ministry of Health wishes to emphasize the importance of cooperating with health advice especially on self-isolation. All those given this advice are expected to:

  • Stay alone in their rooms, away from the rest of the family.
  • Use a mask if they have flu and visitors should not be allowed into the patient’s room, until discharged.
  • Use dedicated linen and eating utensils for the patient and these items should be cleaned with soap and water after use and may be re-used instead of being discarded.
  • The patients is not expected to travel to societal gatherings and public places.

Further emphasis is made on the practice of regular hand wash with soap and water as well as covering mouth and nose using tissue when coughing or sneezing.

The Ministry of Health will remain vigilant, providing continuous updates to the nation on further developments.

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Coronavirus – Eswatini: Prime Minister's Statement

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His Majesty King Mswati III and Ingwenyama has commanded Government to introduce a partial lockdown on selected sectors of the economy to curtail the spread of coronavirus with effect from 27 March 2020. His Majesty emphasises that the economy must continue to be strong and robust to ensure that the partial lockdown does not ground the Kingdom.

The increasing number of confirmed cases in the country calls for all Of us to be vigilant and responsible in all our actions in order to quickly turn the tide against this rampaging Virus. His Majesty has therefore commanded that the King's birthday Resource Mobilisation Committee should now fundraise for COVID-19.

Through the counsel of His Majesty, Government has established Emergency coordination structures that will implement the COVID-19 Emergency Plan. These committees include a Cabinet sub-committee, Emergency Task Force, Regional and Sector Committees. They have now hit the ground running, working on effective response measures to contain the spread of the Virus across our communities. May I pass my gratitude to the Deputy Prime Minister and all members of these committees for their devotion and dedication to this cause, I applaud all EmaSwati who continue to heed to health precautions to combat coronavirus and adhere to measures introduced by Government to curb the spread Of this pandemic. My gratitude all goes to all the companies that have poured in resources to support the fight against COVID-19.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Kingdom of Eswatini Meets Qatari Acting Charge d'Affaires

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HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Eswatini Thuli Dladla met with Acting Charge d'Affaires of Embassy of the State of Qatar in the Kingdom of Eswatini Ahmed bin Tajer Al Sada.

During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral cooperation relations, in addition to issues of common concern.

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eSwatini bans imports of live pigs from countries affected by African swine fever

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The Kingdom of eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, banned imports of live pigs on Monday from countries that test positive for African Swine Fever (ASF) after an outbreak of the disease in neighbouring South Africa.

The movement of pigs between farms will be strictly controlled, the director of veterinary and livestock services, Xolani Dlamini, said in a statement in the Swazi Observer.

The disease is highly contagious and fatal among pigs and there is no vaccine against it. It does not affect humans.

Dlamini said his office would introduce a system to identify and track pigs.

“Importations are only from slaughter houses and establishments that are located in ASF-free zones and also source their slaughter stock from registered and supervised disease-free compartments,” Dlamini said.

Last month South Africa’s agricultural ministry said the outbreak of the disease had spread to a fourth province in the country.

 

 

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