Step up battle against Covid-19

Step up battle against Covid-19

LESOTHO recorded five more Covid-19 positive cases this week taking the total of positive cases to 17.

Of these new cases, three individuals had recently travelled to South Africa while the other was of a Mosotho with no travel history to the outside world.

The fifth case was of a South African national who had recently come into Lesotho.
The new stats are a wake-up call to Lesotho.
Compared to our neighbours in Southern Africa, Lesotho had appeared to have been spared from the Covid-19 pandemic recording just two cases in the first two months since the outbreak in March.

That lull had apparently given Basotho a false sense of security.
That false sense of security has now been punctured.
The virus has spread ferociously across our borders in South Africa leaving a trail of death in our well-off neighbour.

Yet despite boasting one of the most sophisticated medical infrastructures in Africa, South Africa has struggled to keep pace with the disease which has so far infected over 106 000 people.
Of these over 2 100 have died.

That is why there were real worries that Covid-19 would wreak unspeakable havoc were it to hit “little Lesotho”.
We are grateful that for us here, we have largely been spared from Covid-19. But the sharp rise in numbers which we saw this week should be a real cause for worry to every Mosotho.

Yet if any visitor were to come to Lesotho right now, they would be forgiven to think there is no Covid-19 in the country. That is because we have generally relaxed our guard as a nation.
We seem not to be taking this virus seriously. Businesses are running at full steam.

The lockdown which had been imposed by the government on March 29 collapsed spectacularly with everyone keen to resume normal business.
But we are likely to pay for that haste.

Lesotho needs a coherent plan to fight Covid-19. The appointment of Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) boss, Thabo Khasipe, as the National Command Centre chief executive officer will most likely energise the base in our fight against Covid-19.

Khasipe is a respected technocrat who will push to plug the holes at the Command Centre which had until recently lost the public relations war after salacious stories of massive profligacy were published in the media.

The biggest lesson we have learnt from Covid-19 so far is that we need to act now to contain its spread or we shall face a massive calamity as a nation.
With the virus spreading ferociously across our borders, we will need to jerk up our systems in response.

Now is not the time for a lackluster response to this pandemic.
Beyond statements of commitment, we need to see real action on the ground with the Ministry of Health engaged in robust campaigns to educate the public. The current attempts have been patchy at most.

More still needs to be done to educate people about basic hygiene, coughing and sneezing etiquette. That will take a massive cultural shift. But it must be done or we shall perish.

With more cases of Covid-19 expected in the near future, more equipment such as Personal Protective Equipment, hospital beds, masks, gloves and sanitisers will be required.

Not every Mosotho has decent medical cover to seek treatment in South Africa. That is why it is crucial that we invest heavily in our own hospitals to treat our own people.

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