File picture: Simon Allen/Pixabay
File picture: Simon Allen/Pixabay

Lesotho extends lockdown by two weeks, rolls out mass testing for Covid-19

By Molaole Montsho Time of article published Apr 22, 2020

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Rustenburg - Lesotho has extended a three-week lockdown aimed at warding off Covid-19 by another two weeks.

Despite not having any confirmed cases of the coronavirus, Lesotho went into a 21 day lockdown which was initially expected to end on April 21.

Addressing the nation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane said the lockdown would now continue until May 5 and his government would hire doctors and nurses as well as rolling out mass screening and testing for coronavirus in high risk areas.

"During this extended period, the government of Lesotho will continue to protect the country against the virus. Government will procure specialised equipment such as oxygen ventilators, patient monitors and protective clothing for health facilities," he said.

Thabane called on Lesotho's citizens to obey lockdown regulations and to pray every day at noon for the country's protection.

The government would publish a list of businesses that would be allowed to open during the extended shutdown, the prime minister said.

Lesotho would also work with South Africa -- which completely surrounds the mountain kingdom geographically -- in fighting Covid-19, he added.

Lesotho's education and training Minister Mokoto Hloaele announced on Sunday that registration for the country's General Certificate for Secondary Education examinations would be extended, with a deadline to be announced once the lockdown was lifted.

Covid-19 has spread to other parts of the world since being first recorded in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province last December.

South Africa has so far recorded 3,465 confirmed cases of the virus, with 58 deaths and 1,055 recoveries. It is slightly behind Egypt which has the highest number of cases in Africa at 3,490. The coronavirus-related death toll in the North African country stands at 268, while 870 people have recovered.

So far there are over 2.5 million confirmed cases worldwide, with more than 177,000 people having lost their lives while nearly 700,000 have recovered from the virus, according to real-time date portal Worldometer.

African News Agency (ANA)

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's  special #Coronavirus page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit  sacoronavirus.co.za 

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