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Follow Covid-19 rules – King

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Nthatuoa Koeshe

BASOTHO must strictly adhere to Covid-19 regulations and change the way they have been handling events like funerals if Lesotho is to contain the virus, His Majesty King Letsie III has said.

His Majesty said this on Sunday during a live broadcast on national television.

The call comes on the back of a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases which last month forced the government to impose a national lockdown to arrest the spread. Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro imposed a 14-day lockdown from 14 January 2021. It was to be extended by another seven days until Tuesday.

The lockdown was accompanied by restrictions including limiting funeral attendance only to immediate family members.

Last month Lesotho seemed destined to lose the battle against Covid-19 amid revelations by the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) that the number of infections and deaths had more than doubled in just three weeks since las December.

According to NACOSEC, Lesotho had a cumulative 7656 infections and 123 deaths as of 23 January 2021. The figures revealed that infections and deaths had more than doubled from just 3206 infections and 51 deaths reported by NACOSEC exactly three earlier on 1 January 2021.

A month earlier 1 December 2020, Lesotho only had 2137 infections and 44 deaths. If it continued, the trend seemed to indicate that Lesotho’s entire population of approximately 2, 1 million people were likely to be infected by October this year.

By Sunday, Lesotho had recorded 8664 cases and 172 deaths.

And His Majesty said if Lesotho is to win the battle against the killer virus, then citizens must start behaving differently.

“The major issue at the moment is that we must protect ourselves,” His Majesty said adding: “I know that as Basotho, we are protective of our traditions especially whenever we bury our loved ones”.

“Unfortunately, with the prevailing conditions, we must change the way we do things and abide with the regulations.”

He said the recommendations were made after careful studies proved that funerals were a super spreader of the Covid-19 virus.

“I therefore, implore all Basotho to abide by the recommendations. It is still our belief and hope that this pandemic will one day end and when that day comes, we will get a chance to honour the ones who left us during this pandemic with the rightful ceremonies,” His Majesty said.

He said it was every individual’s responsibility to fight the pandemic and ensure that the infection rate is reduced.

The King also commended the government for introducing relief measures for those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

“I am grateful to the government for its initiatives in finding relief measures for Basotho during this pandemic. I appreciate the government’s efforts in donating food to people who lost their jobs while it continues making efforts to provide the equipment required in the fight against Covid-19 like oxygen tanks in hospitals,” the King said.

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