Lesotho officially in Covid third wave: NACOSEC

  •  demands strict lockdown.

Limpho Sello

LESOTHO is now officially in the third wave of Covid-19, with the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) reporting that the highly contagious Delta variant has been detected in the country.

NACOSEC CEO ‘Malitaba Litaba also told the Lesotho Times that the rate of infections had soared to 20 percent. Anything above a five percent positivity rate is considered a crisis and usually strict lockdowns are imposed by countries with such rates.

Dr Litaba said NACOSEC had since advised the government to impose a strict lockdown to bring down the high rate of infections.

As of yesterday, Lesotho had registered a cumulative total of 12 630 infections and 349 deaths. Exactly a month ago, the country had 11 128 infections and 329 deaths.

In an interview with this publication this week, Dr Litaba said the Delta variant had been detected among some of the samples sent to South Africa for testing. She said the country was now officially battling a third wave of Covid-19, with outbreaks reported at the textile factories in Maputsoe.

She said the positivity rate had shot up from below five percent to 20 percent in recent weeks, putting the country at risk of being overwhelmed by the virus.

“We are in the third wave of Covid-19 infections as the positivity rate has increased to 20 percent,” Dr Litaba said.

“We haven’t received the results for all four batches of samples sent to South Africa for testing. However, the results of the first batch we have received show that we have cases of the Delta variant which originated in India and was later found in South Africa.

“The first batch contained samples taken from Khethisa High School (Leribe) which had an outbreak last month. The other batches were of samples of cases reported at the Maseru border gate and the other one was from factory workers.”

Dr Litaba said the spike in Covid-19 cases could be attributed to various factors including the presence of the Delta variant which spreads faster than other strains of the virus.

“The other reason could be the large unnecessary public gatherings for political parties where the Covid-19 protocols are not observed.”

She said they had advised the government to impose a strict lockdown to bring down the high rate of infections.

“We have advised the government to move the country to a strict lockdown,” Dr Litaba said.

Under a strict lockdown, international travel is prohibited except for essential workers. Other stricter Covid-19 restrictions include the closure of schools and businesses like restaurants, taverns and hair salons. Public gatherings are also restricted while indoor church services are not allowed.

Dr Litaba said they would also begin training programmes for school principals, hostel owners and taxi operators to equip them to fully appreciate the dangers of Covid-19 and to implement the protocols to fight the disease.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology yesterday closed its offices after a Covid-19 case was detected at the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs which is also housed at Moposo House in Maseru.

The premises have been closed to allow for fumigation and ministry staffers have been told to return on 26 July 2021.

The Post Office building in Maseru was also closed on Monday after a Covid-19 case was detected in one of the offices. It will reopen tomorrow after fumigation.



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