2020: A year like no other

2020: A year like no other

As we say goodbye to 2020, we can all agree that this was a year like no other that we can remember in recent memory.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan, China, in December last year, we have lived in fear and slept in fear as this tiny virus wreaked havoc worldwide.

Our hearts go out to those who have lost their loved ones during these trying times.
When the disease broke out here in March, there were real fears that it would simply smash our rickety health delivery system.

There were fears of widespread carnage of biblical proportions.
That was because we had slowly watched countries with better and much more sophisticated health delivery systems being overwhelmed by the disease.
Lesotho, which is among the poorest countries in Africa, was therefore seen as a lightweight in this battle.

Nobody gave us a chance in hell that we would be able to hold our own when the pandemic hit.
Thankfully, due to providence, we have generally been spared as the disease wreaks havoc elsewhere.
Yet that should be no cause for some early celebrations.

We still have not weathered the storm and with thousands of Basotho coming home for the holidays, we can only state that we have conditions for a perfect storm in the next few weeks.
We shall never forget 2020.

Who can forget the harrowing stories of patients dying alone in deserted hospitals? Who can forget the shocking images of thousands of dead victims being buried by strangers in protective gear?
Who can forget stories that Gauteng was preparing a million graves when the pandemic broke out in March?
Who can forget the fearsome scenes in Bolivia as the dead lay rotting on the streets, unburied?

This is a disease that has seriously disrupted our lives. It has affected how we mourn and bury our dear loved ones.
It has kept us prisoners in our own homes.
While the majority found novel ways to cope, a few, without any means to support themselves, gave up and took their own lives.

That is what has made 2020 a very difficult year.
Closer home, the damage has also been immense. Close to fifty-one Basotho have lost their lives due to Covid-19. Thousands of others have been infected or affected by the pandemic.
With the economy in gridlock, companies were left with no option but to cut down numbers to stay afloat.

That has had a huge impact on the lives of Basotho.
The tourism sector is virtually dead.
Without international travel, the major hotels in Lesotho which rely on tourists for bookings, have been reduced to shells.
Domestic tourism is also dead as Basotho stay away from tourist attractions in an effort to keep safe.

All these factors have come at a very huge cost to Basotho. We have all suffered in one way or the other as a result of the pandemic.
But as we say goodbye to 2020, we must continue to exercise vigilance. The reality is that there is palpable fatigue among our people.
People yearn to reclaim their lives. They yearn for the pre-Covid days when life was normal.

But this is our new normal and we must live with it until such a time when this virus has been tamed.

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