Cape Town – As of April 13, Lesotho is one of two African countries that have not yet recorded any cases of the novel coronavirus, the second being the island nation of Comoros.
The virus, which emerged from China in late December 2019, has claimed many lives to date. Africa's initial coronavirus infection was detected in Egypt in February and has since spread to 52 African countries.
Despite Lesotho being virus free, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has been moving swiftly ever since the pandemic emerged.
Lesotho implemented a three-week lockdown from March 29 that will run until April 21.
The government has announced a series of economic interventions to safeguard the country from the consequences of the pandemic.
Thabane gave an address on Monday, confirming that a budget has been dedicated to the Disaster Relief Fund, with another relief fund for the private sector.
Among other issues, the interventions address the public and private sectors and also considers Basotho students within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as those outside the region.
Banks have been urged to amend some of their regulations while telecommunications companies are to lower interest rates.
In addition to these measures, Lesotho has also formally initiated talks with the World Bank and the European Union (EU) for assistance.
Health Minister Nkaku Kabi confirmed that the government is in talks with the South African health department to arrange for delivery of anti-retrovirals (ARVs) and other medication for Basotho, which had been delayed due to the lockdown.
The government has also encouraged citizens who are in other countries to remain there in order to minimise the spread of Covid-19.