March 19, 2020


3 min read

Lesotho declares state of emergency on COVID-19

Lesotho declares state of emergency on COVID-19

Prime Minister of the kingdom of Lesotho Dr Thomas Thabane

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Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has on Thursday March 18 2020 declared state of emergency on Coronavirus, a virus that causes COVID-19, and spelled out stringent measures that should be taken to avoid and prevent the pandemic. Dr Thabane has urged every Mosotho everywhere starting from Wednesday March 18 to observe a moment of prayer every day at 12 noon to ask for God's intervention “during these hard times.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the rapidly spreading Coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, acknowledging what has seemed clear for some time — the virus will likely spread to all countries on the globe.

The Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during the declaration that the situation was expected to worsen. “We expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.”

Apart from imposing restrictions on incoming and outgoing travels through closure of some Lesotho’s formal borders with South Africa, the schools’ activities have been suspended as of March 19 until April 20. Public gatherings have also been suspended.

The freedom of movement of people shall be negatively affected, especially those people who visit Lesotho from the countries already affected by the virus, who will be thoroughly checked before they could be allowed into the country.

Prime Minister Thabane said Fedix hotel, Likileng in Butha-Buthe has been earmarked for emergency testing and 14 days quarantine of anyone detected to have the virus, for people arriving from affected areas as well as Lesotho nationals who have visited affected areas upon return to Lesotho.

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The public would be updated every now and then through the media and official messages. Workplaces are urged to improve their hygiene and also provide workers with sanitizers and protective clothing.

'Manthabiseng National Convention Centre has been identified as designated National Command Centre for Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki said that information about COVID-19 would be coordinated and accessed from the centre, adding “it is vital for all to follow and implement what is expected of them.”

Basotho students in affected areas in foreign land, such as China, Japan, Norway and United Kingdom among others, according to development and planning minister, Dr Tlohelang Aumane, will be provided with allowances for at least three months to sustain their livelihoods and this will involve those who are under government sponsorship and those who are self-sponsored.

The government has set aside M60 million budget for information dissemination and human resource improvement amongst others.

Home Affairs minister Mokhele Moletsane has urged all citizens crossing either to Lesotho or South Africa to use formal borders and stop the habit of using informal borders so that they could be checked for the possible virus infection.

So far Lesotho has not reported any Coronavirus case although its neighbour, South Africa, had already reported 116 confirmed cases by Thursday March 18 2020. Lesotho has only South Africa as its neighbour without any border with any other country as it surrounds Lesotho entirely.

Lesotho’s declaration of state of emergency comes a day after the president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, also declared state of emergency, closed some borders, cut down travel activities, public gatherings including schools and that people should not gather in a more than 50 number.

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