Porous borders worry Lesotho

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Lesotho last week recorded eight new cases of COVID-19, the highest number reported by the small mountain kingdom to date.

"Seven of the confirmed cases had a travel history from South Africa and one from Zimbabwe," the country's director-general of health services, Dr Ntsane Letsie, said in a statement last week.

She said two patients were from the capital Maseru, four from Mohale's Hoek, one from Berea and one from Buthe-Buthe.

Lesotho now has 12 COVID-19 infections, two recoveries, but no virus-related deaths.

Letsie said the ministry of health would continue to carry out contact tracing on all the confirmed cases. It would also continue "vigilant screening" at designated points of entry, at health facilities and in communities, as well as monitoring those in home quarantine.

She appealed to the public to remain calm, vigilant and adhere to safety protocols to minimise the spread of the virus.

Last week, Health Minister Motlatsi Maqelepo announced that the COVID-19 lockdown restriction had been relaxed, which included food retailers resuming trade from 8am to 8pm, and liquor stores

being allowed to operate from 8am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. 

Taxis and buses were only allowed to take seated passengers, with no standing room allowed. 

Earlier in June, Lesotho's National Emergency Command Centre said it was worried that many Basotho were taking advantage of the porous borders to enter the country from South Africa, which is deemed a high-risk for COVID-19. 

The spokesperson for the command centre, Ramakhula Ramakhula, said via a statement that between June 10 and 17, a total of 141 Basotho from South Africa entered the country through various weak border areas, and implied that thousands of Basotho were already in Lesotho because of the porous borders. 

South Africa has the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Africa.

According to the latest figures released by the country's National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the country had recorded 97,302 COVID-19 infections, 51,608 recoveries, and 1,930 deaths as of Sunday night.

According to real-time data tracking site, Worldometers, South Africa has surpassed China's confirmed cases.

China has to date recorded 83,396 infections, 78,413 recoveries, and 4,634 deaths.

The new coronavirus was first recorded in Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province, in December 2019, from where it spread to other parts of the world, resulting in a global pandemic. – African News Agency

 

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