Rise in Covid-19 cases

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

LESOTHO has recorded a rise in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks with over 100 cases being recorded in Leribe, Mokhotlong and Butha-Buthe in recent weeks.

The National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) is therefore, working to improve its tracing of contacts of persons who would have tested positive for the virus.

This was said by NACOSEC chief executive officer ‘Malitaba Litaba, in an interview with the Lesotho Times this week.

Her comments come on the back of an increase in Covid-19 cases after 40 new cases were recorded in Leribe last week.

As of yesterday, Lesotho had registered 2365 cases from 29 359. Forty-six deaths have also been recorded and 1423 recoveries. Of the 2365 positive cases, 58 are from this week.

Dr Litaba said the Leribe cases were discovered after one Lesotho Agricultural College (LAC) student fell ill and tested positive for Covid-19. Three of her contacts also tested positive soon afterwards.

“One LAC student in Leribe tested positive and so did three of her immediate contacts,” Dr Litaba said.

“Fifty-two other students were tested and then 52 specimens were taken and out of them, 36 came back positive. We have run more tests and are still awaiting their results and as it is, we are trying to trace them as the school was immediately closed and they were all dismissed.”

Had the students not been dismissed, this would have reduced the number of contacts and helped contain the situation, “but now that they have spread and gone to their different districts”.

“This has placed more people at risk and made the tracing process difficult,” Dr Litaba said.

From NACOSEC’s latest reports, Leribe, Butha-Buthe and Mokhotlong have all recorded increases in the number of Covid-19 cases.

In Leribe alone, 45 students from St Mary’s Economic Center also tested positive for Covid-19 but the virus has been contained.

“A 12-year-old pupil from Likileng English Medium fell sick on 23 November and a week later, he tested positive for Covid-19 along with one of the teachers. Only nine learners were reported to be the first pupil’s contacts and five of them tested positive for Covid-19. A further 24 contacts of the nine have also been tested and are now awaiting the results.

“There has also been an outbreak in Mokhotlong at St James High School where 87 students all feel sick at the same time. They were immediately quarantined and more than half of the specimens have tested positive although we are still awaiting more results.

“However, it is worth noting that the response has been positive because it was immediate and a task team has been deployed to give support in Mokhotlong for the next three weeks,” Dr Litaba said.

She said an improvement of their contact tracing processes will yield better results and bolster NACOSEC’s efforts in fighting Covid-19.

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