Final year medical students from SADC region to be allowed back into SA

Final year medical students will be allowed to return to universities in South Africa to continue their studies after the narrowing reopening of campuses earlier this month.

Eswatini Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Senator Thulie Dlamini said that her discussions with South African authorities and SADC partners revealed that borders would remain closed to all other migrant workers and students.

Final year medical students allowed back

Dlamini said that eMaswati entering South Africa would be subject to a 14-day quarantine before they are allowed to resume their studies.

"These students who are studying medicine will be subjected to a 14 day quarantine before they continue with their studies. We all know that the number of cases is rising in South Africa, so I believe they decided to allow this small group back to be able to manage the situation" said the Minister.

University students expected back on campus as early as June

Neighbours ask to be let back in

Eswatini and Lesotho are both landlocked and rely heavily on South Africa for a variety of essential and non-essential goods. While Lesotho is completely enclosed by South African, Eswatini also shares a border with Mozambique.

It is unclear when South Africa will allow other students from SADC states to return to universities and colleges.

"It's not only eMaswati but students from all over the SADC region, I have consulted with our Lesotho, Botswana and Namibian counterparts, they are all faced with a similar problem," Dlamini said.

Foreign students who have remained in South Africa during the lockdown will be allowed to resume their studies when campuses open.

Final year medical students returned to campus on 11 May but with the borders still closed, students who had either travelled home before lockdown or opted to be repatriated at a later date were unable to return to South Africa.

Eswatini confident outbreak is under control

By Friday 22 May, Eswatini had confirmed 225 cases of COVID-19 with two deaths recorded. So far, 119 eMaswati have recovered from the virus. 

The Eswatini Ministry of Health has stated that the country's partial lockdown has potentially averted 4 000 deaths from COVID-19.

"With the partial lockdown based on figures from modelling and forecasting we have potentially averted 4 000 deaths from COVID-19," Eswatini Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi said this week.
"We are hoping that it will taper off toward the end. How quickly it tapers off will depend on whether there is treatment and a vaccine and that there is nothing that exacerbates the situation.