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Lesotho records sixth Covid-19 death

  • as infections soar to 184 from 359 in just seven days

Limpho Sello

LESOTHO has recorded its sixth Coronavirus (Covid-19) related death as cases of the deadly virus breached the 300 mark to reach 359 yesterday.

This represents a huge jump in infections from 184 to 359 in just seven days. The number of deaths also increased from two to six in the same period.

The first Covid-19 death happened at Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital on 7 July 2020.

According to the Health ministry’s International Health Regulations manager Khotso Mahomo, one of the deceased was a health professional.

“Although I cannot really go into the details of the deaths, I can confirm that one of the deceased was a health professional,” Mr Mahomo told this publication yesterday. However, he did not say what the specific job of the deceased was.

The revelations come against the background of the ongoing strike by health workers which got underway on Monday to protest the government’s failure to give them risk allowances and adequate personal protective equipment (PPEs) to protect them from Covid-19.

The health workers have bandied together under the banner of Coalition of Health Professionals. The Coalition includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists and nursing assistants.

The indefinite nationwide strike has left patients stranded and brought the health delivery system to a virtual standstill.

It could end if the two parties reach an agreement at their talks expected to be held tomorrow.

Meanwhile, information released by the Health ministry yesterday shows that of the cumulative 359 Covid-19 infections, there have been 69 recoveries.

The rise in the Covid-19 infections come at a time when the country has tested 7432 people.

The figure is still way too low in a country with 2, 1 million people.

Nine out of 10 districts have recorded infections and panicky health officials including Minister Motlatsi Maqelepo have warned that “all of us in danger of suffering deeply from this killer virus”. Only Thaba-Tseka district is yet to record any infections.

At least 500 people have been quarantined at different facilities across the country over suspicions they have contracted the deadly virus.

Despite the exponential rise of infections, people, including those in prominent positions, appear not to have heeded warnings to avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing and refrain from other risky behaviour.

A fortnight ago, members of the ruling All Basotho Convention’s national executive committee (NEC) held a rally to welcome a new member, Thabo Nkhahle. Mr Nkhahle defected from the opposition Alliance of Democrats (AD). More than 50 people attended the event at Maseru High School in defiance of the rules prohibiting large gatherings.

A Thetsane police officer who tested positive for the virus recorded a video this week while dining with his colleagues at a public bar in Maseru. There was no social distancing at the event. (See story on page 5).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has predicted that as many as 6000 Basotho will die from the virus soon unless the government gets its act together and implement tough measures to contain it.

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