…as patients freely move around the country after being turned back at the borders
IN a shocking development which could fuel the spread of the deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, hundreds of Covid-19 positive Basotho who have been turned back by South African authorities at the borders are said to have freely moved around the country this week and even mingled with other people.
Covid-19 positive Basotho continue being turned back at South Africa’s ports of entry due to their status but investigations by this publication have shown that on their return to Lesotho, they have been allowed to go free instead of being quarantined due to the government’s failure to provide quarantine facilities for patients.
Some of the patients who were turned back this week have been using public transport to return to their homes thus putting unsuspecting fellow passengers at risk of contracting the deadly virus.
National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) risk communications manager, Baroane Phenethi, yesterday confirmed the development. He said they were now trying to trace those who were turned back to ensure that they all self-isolated at their homes if the symptoms were not severe enough to warrant hospitalisation.
“We are busy in the villages doing contact tracing of those people who tested positive and used public transport to go to their homes,” Mr Phenethi said.
“South African authorities have also been testing travellers who do not have valid Covid-19 certificates and have been turning back anyone who tests positive for the virus. Unfortunately, some of those who tested positive and were turned back used public transport to go back to their homes thus risking the lives of other passengers.”
Mr Phenethi said they have now started testing travellers on the Lesotho side of the borders to ensure that only those who are Covid-19 negative cross over to the South African side.
Mr Phenethi said they had also started organising transport for those who are turned back at the borders after testing positive for Covid-19. This will ensure that they do not use public transport where they are likely to spread the virus, he said.
The measures could well be a little too late as hundreds of people have already been turned back and they freely moved around mingling with the rest of the population.