MBABANE:Two Chinese nationals suspected of CoronaVirus were busted by the police trying to leave the country to South Africa through the informal crossings, they were subsequently isolated at Hlathikhulu Government Hospital.
An investigation by this Swaziland News uncovered that the incident occurred on Tuesday this week, however it has been kept a top secret by the police who feared that it might manifests into public disorder as citizens remain concerned with government inability to control the CoronaVirus due to lack of resources.
Reached for comments by this publication, Senator Lizzie Nkosi, the Minister of Health confirmed the matter saying even though the Chinese nationals came into the country legally, they then tried to sneak into South Africa illegally.
“I know of the two Chinese nationals that had been kept at Hlathikhulu Hospital after we screened them, while waiting for police to collect them. They were cleared on the health side,but we will be monitoring them for 14 days. One had come in legally from Mozambique and was trying to sneak into South Africa. The other one was a resident friend who was trying to help him, both are on our watch list for 14 days,” said the Minister.
Police National Commissioner William Dlamini had not responded to our questionnaire on this matter at the time of compiling this report.
Reached for comments, Superintendent Phindile Valakati, the eSwatini Police Spokesperson said the National Commissioner was better positioned to comment on the matter.
But senior government sources told this Swaziland News that the police decided to keep this information away from the public pending further investigations regarding the identity of other Chinese nationals who entered the country illegally and might expose the public to risks of contracting the virus.
“National Commissioner had advised that this information be kept away from the public while they do their work of tracking if there are others,”said the source.
Reached for comments, Emmanuel Ndlangamandla, the Executive Director of the Co-ordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organizations (CANGO) said it would be regrettable if such crucial information would be deliberately withheld by government.
“At this point, government should ensure that it is transparent and gain people’s trust,” he said.
The CANGO Director said he recently received a call from a textile worker who was panicking that their bosses were coming back from Whuang, the epicenter China town of the epidemic.
“We are not saying they must be stigmatized but should be assisted to prevent local infections,” he said.
A source within the Hlathikhulu Government Hospital who alerted this publication regarding the issue of the Chinese who were isolated within the health institution expressed serious concerns that they were kept in a not so proper quarantine and as such, the public remained in danger.
“Yesterday Chinese men were brought here by the police to be checked on the CoronaVirus, their legality of being in eSwatini was questionable yet they are straight from China. Currently, they are kept in a not so proper quarantine just by the gate within the hospital. Please investigate more and report on this matter,” said the source.
Mbongwa Dlamini, the President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers(SNAT) came hard on government for denying the public access to this crucial information about the isolation of the Chinese nationals saying it exposed the citizens to risks of contracting the CoronaVirus.
“What government is doing is shocking. How can you keep such crucial information away from the public because it will eventually come out. At this juncture, we need such information so that we can adopt safety measures to protect ourselves and if they mislead us regarding the real situation, then we are at risk!. With this new information, we might consider withdrawing our members from the public schools until the situation gets better because government seems not ready to protect us from this epidemic, the law allows us to do that,” he said.
On Friday, government through the Ministry of Health confirmed the first case of CoronaVirus in a press release, however, with the secrecy in the public administration, there were fears that there might be more unconfirmed cases and the public remain in danger. At the moment, the country does not have a testing laboratory and preventive equipment and government blame this to the lack of resources.
This is despite the fact that last year, King Mswati purchased about 20 Rolls Royce cars for his wives and a fleet of BMWs that collectively cost taxpayers about R1billion. He is counted among the richest Monarchies in Africa with an estimated fortune of over R2billion.
Health Minister Senator Lizzie Nkosi