Eswatini’s absolute monarch King Mswati III has reportedly been admitted to hospital in a critical condition.
The king has been in self-isolation since receiving visitors from Taiwan as part of a delegation delivering military ordinance to the landlocked country.
King Mswati III hospitalised with COVID-19: Reports
The absence of the king from public life has caused a stir in Eswatini which was amplified when the royal family cancelled a press conference scheduled for Sunday.
Ludzidzini governor Lusendvo Fakudze, who is known as the voice of the king, has tried to assuage fears for the health of Mswati.
“We will speak next time but everything is well,” Fakudze told Swaziland News on Sunday.
Royal sources told the online news publication that the king was admitted to Manzana Royal Hospital in a critical condition and was struggling to breathe.
After the Swaziland News ran their story about the king’s admission to hospital, The Royal Eswatini Police (REPS) issued a notice appealing to anyone who knows the whereabouts of Zweli Martin Dlamini, the editor of the publication to assist them with information.
On Friday 10 April 2020, the publication reported on its Twitter account that REPS officers arrived at the editor’s home and harassed Dlamini’s wife, four-old son and seven-year old daughter.
His wife was reportedly taken to the Mbabane police station where she was tortured and humiliated after REPS officers demanded that she reveal the editor’s whereabouts.
COVID-19 in Eswatini
Eswatini Minister of Health, Lizzie Nkosi, has to date confirmed 12 cases of COVID-19 in the country.
The latest case was a pregnant woman who has subsequently given birth. The 36-year-old woman from the Manzini Region had no history of travel outside the country but had regular contact with a frequent traveller to South Africa.
The minister said the woman had mild symptoms with a cough, but no fever and had been tested on Saturday 4 April 2020.
“The ministry is taking all steps to ensure that all those who were in contact with her in the ward, all the health workers and mothers who were there and all the other workers in the hospital including her family and her other contacts are actively traced,” Nkosi told the Times of Swaziland.
The women, who it was later revealed gave birth to twins, was set to be moved to a private room at the Lubombo Referral Hospital.
Eswatini authorities have placed the country on a partial lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19.
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