LESOTHO’S Covid-19 situation is out of control and has reached crisis levels, the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) has said.
Over the weekend, NACOSEC Deputy CEO, Thabo Ntoi, told reporters that 528 new infections had been reported in just two weeks as the positivity rate hovered between nine and 10 percent. Anything above a five percent positivity rate is considered a crisis and usually strict lockdowns are imposed by countries with such rates.
As of yesterday, Lesotho had recorded a cumulative total of 14 395 infections and 403 deaths.
Of these, 400 new infections had been recorded in week 32 (13 August 2021) and another 128 new infections in week 33 (20 August).
“So, with this background and the positivity rate hovering between nine and 10 percent in two weeks, we can say that we are not in control (of the Covid-19 situation) and it is crucial that the public continues to take the necessary precautions,” Mr Ntoi said.
Hospital admissions had also peaked at 189 in week 32 before coming down to 127 which was still a high figure, he said.
“The numbers of admissions are still too high and this says the situation is out of control even though we are slightly better compared to January this year.
“Also, the number of patients needing oxygen is still manageable although the situation had threatened to get out of control in the past few weeks,” Mr Ntoi, said adding Lesotho would remain in the “purple stage” of restrictions.
Under the purple stage, international travel is banned except for health reasons, diplomatic and government work as well as emergencies. Contact sports like soccer are also banned along with political rallies among others.
Lesotho is now officially in the third wave of Covid-19, with Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro revealing that the country is battling three highly contagious variants of the virus.
These are the South African variant, Delta variant and the United Kingdom mutation of the Lambda variant first identified in Peru last August.
Of these, the Delta variant is the most virulent with reports saying it is responsible for 83 percent of Covid-19 cases in the US.
The US is the world leader in Covid-19 cases with 39 540 401 infections and 653 405 deaths having been recorded by yesterday.
India, the country where the Delta variant was first identified, is not far behind with 32 649 947 infections and 437 403 deaths by yesterday.
In addition to the restrictions, Lesotho is on a mass vaccination programme to jab all eligible sections of the population. The programme got underway in March this year after the country received AstraZeneca vaccines donated through the World Health Organisation. Since then Johnson&Johnson as well as Sinopharm vaccines have either been donated or procured to intensify the vaccination campaign.