Eswatini Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku has called on anyone with evidence that the country is fabricating results of patients who tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus to come forward with such evidence.
Speaking to the Eswatini Broadcasting and Information Service this week, Masuku said it was unsettling that there were people who were hell-bent on portraying the country in bad light.
This follows a recent viral debate in social media platforms that the figures of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in the country were underestimated.
The reports implied that the country had more than 50 positive cases and there were about eight deaths, an allegation that has been denied by the government.
“Such can only come from enemies of the state who are hell-bent at reversing the gains of the kingdom. In as far as Covid-19 is concerned, they must produce evidence [of positive test results].
“As a committee tasked with coordinating national efforts meant to ensure that the pandemic does not reach alarming proportions, we can say [that the reports are] the work of enemies of the state,” Masuku told the state broadcaster.
By yesterday the country had “14 confirmed Covid-19 cases, of which seven have tested negative and been discharged”.
Meanwhile, acting government press secretary Sabelo Dlamini said there was a need for people to disregard unofficial news platforms. He said amaSwati should head official government sites, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, for genuine news regarding the pandemic.
“For all accurate news on the pandemic, there is a need for people to source their news from government and registered news platforms.
“Platforms purporting to be offering accurate news on the pandemic [but are instead misleading people compel one] to say that they are the work of bored people,” Dlamini told local radio on Monday.
Last week, Eswatini Economic Planning and Development Minister Tambo Gina told a local media conference that his ministry had predicted that if Covid-19 were to continue for the next eight months the country would to lose 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent to E3.3 billion (R3.3 billion).
He said the impact of the pandemic was so devastating such that it was reversing the gains that the country had made in the past 10 years, which saw the country reducing poverty levels by 13%.
“If this persists for up to a year, we will lose about E6.3 billion, which translates to about 6% of our GDP.
“We need to be careful that we do not do things that will see people dying as a result of poverty. We would not like to see people starving because of poverty; there is a need for striking a balance to ensure that we keep the country’s economy afloat.
“Our ministry is yet to release mitigation plans that the country will embark on to ensure that the lockdown [which came into effect on March 27] does not push people into poverty,” he told the state broadcaster.
Get in touch
|Rise above the clutter | Choose your news | City Press in your inbox|
|City Press is an agenda-setting South African news brand that publishes across platforms. Its flagship print edition is distributed on a Sunday.|