PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane has extended the national lockdown by 14 days until 5 May 2020 to enable the government to begin mass testing of the population for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The lockdown, which began on 30 March 2020, is part of measures to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19. During the lockdown, people are expected to remain at home and businesses are closed except for essential services such grocery shops, hospitals, fuel service stations and media organisations. The lockdown was due to have ended yesterday but Mr Thabane announced its extension in a televised address.
“The government has extended the nationwide lockdown to 5 May as per the advice of the National Emergency Command Centre,” Mr Thabane said yesterday.
“We will enroll a mass testing programme. We will use this time to procure specialised equipment such as oxygen ventilators, patient monitors and personal protective equipment for selected hospitals and quarantine facilities.”
The premier said local authorities were aware of the increasing number cases and coronavirus related deaths globally, notably in South Africa which had recorded nearly 3 500 infections and 58 deaths yesterday.
Although Lesotho is yet to record any infections, the authorities are on high alert to prevent possible spread of the virus.
“It has also come to our attention that the number of cases and deaths linked to COVID-19 continue to rise rapidly around the world including neighbouring South Africa.”
Health Minister Nkaku Kabi yesterday told the Lesotho Times his ministry would start testing people next week.