2 000 nurses to fight Covid

2 000 nurses to fight Covid

MASERU-THE National Covid-19 Secretariat (Nacosec) will hire over 2 000 unemployed nurses to be deployed countrywide to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The nurses will add to the 650 who are already engaged in fighting the virus.

Maile Masoebe, the Senior Manager for Human Resources Administration and Logistics at the Nacosec, told thepost last night that all the nurses will be maintained by the Nacosec.
Masoebe also said they will try to ensure nurses work closer to their homes because “we don’t want to move people as some suffer stress from leaving their homes”.

This comes as the Covid-19 cases have soared to 359 and six deaths, according to last week’s statistics.
This week’s numbers had not yet been released at the time of going to print last night.  

The Nacosec’s promise to engage more nurses also comes as the Coalition of Health Professionals (CHP) says it is continuing with its strike which started two weeks ago.
The CHP spokesman, Dr Mojakisane Ramafikeng, told this paper that they have still not reached an agreement with the government.

Dr Ramafikeng said they met the ministers’ sub-committee represented by Communications Minister Thesele ’Maseribane, Social Development Minister ’Matebatso Doti, and Tourism Minister Lekhetho Rakuoane.
He said when they met Finance Minister Thabo Sofonea he told them to compile a list of their members who should be paid allowances.

He said the sub-committee had also promised to provide them with PPEs “but we were not given PPEs yet we were told they were already arriving”.
Dr Ramafikeng said it appeared that the government was playing delaying tactics to buy time.

He warned that such a strategy is putting more lives at risk.
Dr Ramafikeng said the health practitioners will continue to help in emergency cases only.
Such cases include accidents and deliveries.

He complained some health workers are still being threatened with dismissal despite the fact that the association is still negotiating with the government.

“But we are trying to talk to the cabinet on the matter,” he said.
The health professionals are demanding M7 000 each on top of their monthly salaries as a risk allowance if the government does not provide them with tax holidays for six consecutive months.

The government has already said it doesn’t have that kind of money.
The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a global economic downturn that has hurt even the biggest economies.

Small countries like Lesotho have not been spared and their economies are also taking a beating.
SACU, where Lesotho gets nearly a third of its revenues, is also feeling the pinch.

Companies are closing and people are losing their jobs. At the same time trade, which brings value added tax, has been curtailed. Exports have been reduced to a trickle.

Meanwhile, the Nacosec is going to close bars again as it tightens enforcement of Covid-19 regulations.
The Nacosec Chief of Staff, Thabo Ntoi, yesterday said they will restrict places that threaten to be super spreaders of the killer virus.
He said it was very difficult to regulate drunken people hence bars were closed completely.

“It will affect our economy but life comes first; we looked at it and still realised we don’t have another way to handle it,” he said.
He said beer is the root cause of the increment in numerous things; conflicts, accidents and sometimes they lead people to admission at health centres.

“We have to prioritise the beds for Covid-19 patients and we don’t even have to compare the two as we can’t control the virus,” he said.
Crowds, he said, are major culprits of spreading the virus.
As a result the Nacosec will ensure that there will be no large wedding ceremonies as only five people will be allowed to attend, who include the marrying couple, its two witnesses and the marriage officer.

As regards funerals, only immediate family members and 10 village men assigned by the chief to dig the grave and cover it will be allowed to attend.
No funeral or burial will be allowed after 10am as a means to deter people from attending.
“Life comes first hence we have to protect ourselves from the pandemic to live,” Ntoi said.

He said it was a good thing to support mourners.
However, “it is dangerous as hundreds of people gather at the same place and it could even be more hazardous should there be an infected person amongst them”.
He added that “social distancing is not easily done and maintained.”
“Only close family members are allowed to be part of the funeral, not extended family members,” he said.

He said the country is at low community transmission and an expert says one person can infect two people at this stage hence the new regulations.
“It is very important to monitor numbers so that we will reduce the chances of infection,” he said.

He said they also restricted district to district movement except for essential services and work related drives.
“But they should have identity proof from their work places.”

Ntoi said some businesses such as factory workers work conditionally.
“They are working in shifts and still practise precautionary measures. We cannot close them as our economy will be badly affected,” he said.

’Mapule Motsopa

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