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eSwatini further relaxes COVID-19 restrictions

The eSwatini government has further relaxed COVID-19 measures as the country revels in declining infection rates that have seen no…

The eSwatini government has further relaxed COVID-19 measures as the country revels in declining infection rates that have seen no virus deaths for nearly three weeks.Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku said on Thursday night that the numbers of new infections have been relatively low, with only 15 cases recorded over the past week and no deaths reported in 18 days.

Buoyed by these numbers, the eSwatini authorities have decided a further relaxation of certain COVID-19 measures, including an increase in the number of patrons allowed during music shows and other entertainment events, he said.

“We are pleased to announce that the maximum number of people permitted at an outdoor entertainment event has been increased to 500,” Masuku said in a statement. 

The limit for indoor events would be 300 people, depending on the size of the venue and considering social distancing protocols.

“All entertainment activities will be restricted to two and a half hours with no dance floors permitted,” the premier said, adding that alcohol would not be allowed at entertainment venues. 

Masuku announced the resumption of sporting activities such as basketball, netball, rugby sevens, volleyball and women’s football. 

“These activities are now permitted to resume full operations and as such, clubs and associations can begin to host training sessions, practice matches and official competitions.”

Men’s football had already been allowed to resume following measures announced a few weeks ago.

Memorial services are now allowed with strict adherence to all COVID-19 health protocols for a period not exceeding two and a half hours, while religious organisations “will now be allowed one midweek service with strict adherence to laid down protocols.” 

The eSwatini authorities have also extended the sale of liquor to Saturday, with liquor outlets allowed to operate between 11am (0900 GMT) and 7 pm from Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 2pm on Saturdays. 

“Alcohol once again is still strictly for home consumption only, except where served with meals at restaurants and eateries,” Masuku said.

The new relaxed measures came into effect on Friday.

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