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Panic as NUL records Covid-19 infections

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

FEAR has gripped the National University of Lesotho (NUL) after the country’s leading tertiary institution this week recorded two Covid-19 infections.

A lecturer and a medical nurse tested positive and are now receiving medical attention in a quarantine facility.

However, some staffers say they now fear for their own health as the authorities had allegedly not done anything to protect them including fumigating the university buses the lecturer used along with other workers while awaiting his test results.

They said the lecturer could have infected others as he was allowed to come to work while awaiting his results.

In a statement this week, NUL Vice Chancellor, Associate Professor Kananelo Mosito, confirmed the two cases and advised employees to “stay safe and strong” while being “mature and responsible” in responding to Covid-19.

“I am writing to inform you that we have two confirmed positive cases of Covid-19 at the National University of Lesotho,” Prof Mosito said.

“The first case was confirmed on Tuesday 14 July 2020 while the second was confirmed on Thursday 16 July 2020. The first case concerns a visiting NUL-based medical nurse associated with the NUL Clinic while the second case concerns an employee of the university.  The Ministry of Health confirmed both cases through the prescribed protocol.

“The (infected) colleagues are in quarantine. The Ministry of Health has also immediately contacted those identified as close contacts and has informed and asked them to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

“We continue to monitor the cases and we wish the colleagues the best in what is a difficult time. We sincerely trust that the colleagues will return to their full health.”

Some staffers have even accused the authorities of gross negligence. They alleged that the lecturer had been in contact with a local medical doctor who had tested positive for Covid-19.

They further claim that even when he was awaiting his test results, the lecturer continued reporting for work, mingling with his colleagues and exposing them to the risk of infection. None of those he was in contact with, have been quarantined the workers allege.

“The university management is gambling with our lives,” one employee said on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation.

“They (authorities) were negligent to allow the lecturer to continue coming to work even though he had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.

“Even when his result came out positive, they do not seem to care that other people could have been infected.”

Another employee said the lecturer was also using the university buses for employees who travel between Maseru and the main campus in Roma. They said the buses had not been fumigated after the lecturer tested positive.

“It is a mess. Our management does not care. They know they are safe because they do not travel in the common buses and they sit comfortably in their offices. “They couldn’t care less about the rest of us. All they have managed to provide are hand sanitisers which will not do anything much to protect us if this virus is already believed to be airborne,” said the employee.

NUL registrar Liteboho Maqalika-Lerotholi’s phone rang unanswered when this publication called for comment yesterday. She did not respond to messages sent to her mobile phone.

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