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Health Minister tests positive for Covid-19

Limpho Sello

THE Minister of Health, Motlatsi Maqelepo, tested positive for Covid-19.

The minister’s elder brother, Khabi Maqelepo, succumbed to the virus on 28 July this year. Khabi died shortly after admission at the Berea Isolation Centre.

Mr Maqelepo took to social media yesterday to announce that he had tested positive for the deadly virus that has so far killed 30 people and infected 1 015. The country has so far tested 13 330 specimens.

Mr Maqelepo, who tested positive for the virus on 7 August 2020, only announced it yesterday on his 41st birthday.

“As I turn 41, I feel duty bound to share this news with you,” Mr Maqelepo said on Facebook.

“Yesterday (Friday) was my last day in self-isolation. I tested positive for Covid-19 on 7 August barely a week after burying my brother who died from complications of Covid-19.

“Testing positive for Covid-19 has been a valuable lesson in my life; the way I look at life and in my position as Minister of Health, I just want to let you know that it was not easy hence I decided to go public about my status so that it can also be a lesson to you. And to also stop the stigma to people (sic) with Covid-19.”

He said his experience with the deadly virus had strengthened and solidified his confidence in the capacity of the country’s health system to handle the pandemic.

The minister said advocacy and education around the virus helped him look after himself and those around him.

“But we still need you (health professionals), we need you to help us win. We need your commitment to keep the regulations to help us win.”

He urged the Basotho to heed all World Health Organisation (WHO) safety protocols such as wearing masks, sanitising and washing of hands regularly to eliminate the risk of infection.

“As I will be returning to work, I will be doing that with more force knowing very well what this illness can do to a human’s health,” Mr Maqelepo said.

Instead of the usual pomp and fanfare associated with birthday celebrations of high-profile personalities, Mr Maqelepo said   he would next week celebrate his 41st birthday with the less privileged in Berea.

“I shall not have champagne to celebrate on my birthday. Rather, next week I am going to celebrate with one children’s home in Koalabata, in Berea, where I will also give them a talk on Covid-19 and sexual reproductive health rights.

“We are going to eat together and celebrate together with them but also adhering to safety protocols,” Mr Maqelepo said.

Efforts to get further comment from Mr Maqelepo yesterday were fruitless as his mobile phone rang unanswered. He had also not responded to a message sent to him by the time of going to print.

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