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Lesotho shuts down for 24 days

Prime Minister Tom Thabane

March 25, 2020 2 min read

2 min read

Prime Minister Tom Thabane has announced that Lesotho will follow suit on the guidelines declared by countries affected by coronavirus although the country has not recorded a single coronavirus case so far. Dr Thabane’s announcement comes three days after South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa declared total shutdown on Monday March 23. South Africa, the country that surrounds Lesotho entirely, is the most affected country with the highest recorded number of coronavirus cases.

The shutdown directive that is expected to kick start from 12mid-night on Sunday March 29 until April 21, restricts the peoples’ movement within and coming in or leaving the country, and the security forces will be deployed around the country to enforce the guidelines on the shutdown.

However, only workers on the essential services such as security, basic banking, pharmacies and medical stores, civil servants on essential services, water and electricity will be allowed movement.

Dr Thabane has also forbidden public gatherings such as political rallies and meetings while the funerals must only be attended by less than 50 people where all guidelines to prevent coronavirus must be strictly adhered to.

“All residents, including citizens and foreign diplomatic missionaries, who are currently outside the country for various reasons are prohibited to enter the country and therefore encouraged to stay where they are until the moratorium is waved. The exception will be people who transport essential items such as medicines, petrol and food, among others,” he said.

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He declared that sports and entertainment activities are prohibited.

He warned: “Any media institution or journalist who will be found to be spreading fake and misleading information regarding coronavirus will face legal action and that could even lead to the shutdown of such institution.”

Dr Thabane said in case of any coronavirus related death, the government will comply with the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s public health order of 1970.

“I appeal for unity of purpose with my alliance partners in our (four-party) coalition to put all our efforts in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and to protect our people against it. … I invite leaders in all sectors of the society to join the government in the fight against ‘this worldwide pandemic’”, he said.

Dr Thabane said his cabinet has set aside a special budget allocated to prevent and cure the coronavirus cases if found.

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