eSwatini cabinet in isolation after minister contracts COVID-19

The 20-member cabinet in Africa’s last absolute kingdom of eSwatini has been ordered into isolation after one minister contracted coronavirus, the government said on Saturday.

Public Works and Transport minister Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe was found to be infected after a routine test on Tuesday. 

“Following this development, all cabinet members will isolate with immediate effect and work from home,” government spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini said in a statement.

Numbers of detected coronavirus infections have climbed to 984, including 13 deaths in the southern African country with a population of around 1.3 million people.

Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini warned in April that the health system in the country — formerly known as Swaziland — would struggle with an upsurge of infections due to inadequate resources.

Research published in The Lancet late last month warned that countries such as eSwatini, with the world’s highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS, needed to be vigilant.

The researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concluded that more than 20 percent of the world’s population — face heightened risk of being severely infected with COVID-19 due to underlying health problems such as obesity, diabetes, lung diseases and HIV/AIDS.