‘93 suspected Covid deaths in a week’

‘93 suspected Covid deaths in a week’

MASERU-HOSPITALS in Lesotho reported 93 suspected Covid-19 deaths last week alone, the National Covid-19 Secretariat (Nacosec) has said.
Out of the 93 suspected cases, eight have now been confirmed to have been Covid-19 deaths.
Just this week alone, that is Monday and Tuesday, Nacosec confirmed nine Covid-19 deaths.

There was no report for yesterday when we went to print.
The Nacosec boss, Dr ’Malitaba Litabe, told a press conference yesterday that they only report Covid-19 confirmed deaths, excluding those suspected to have contracted the virus.
“Hospitals last week reported 93 deaths but we could not say they died due to Covid-19, they are just suspected cases,” Dr Litabe said.

This explains why nurses in whose hands these people die questioned statistics provided by the Nacosec as they argue that the published numbers do not reflect what is on the ground.
Nurses have said there are more Covid-19 deaths than those published by the Nacosec.
Dr Litabe said some people die while still awaiting results of their Covid-19 tests and before their deaths they had had no chance to isolate themselves from other people.

This, she said, could have contributed immensely to the widespread infection rate in the country.
She said their biggest laboratory only does 2 000 tests in 24 hours “but we sometimes experience (gridlocks) due to the lack of capacity”.
Dr Litabe said Lesotho’s Covid-19 situation keeps on deteriorating.
She said the crisis is deteriorating in the country that is why a total lockdown was necessary.

She said the rate of infection is currently high compared to before Christmas last year.
“The pandemic takes people’s lives especially already sick people with illnesses like heart diseases,” she said.
Dr Litabe said it took Lesotho months to hit the 40 deaths mark but in just two weeks, that figure rose to 102 from the beginning of January.

“We are between 30 percent and 50 percent of positivity rate,” she said.
She said under normal circumstances a country should be below five percent of the positivity rate.
She added that controlling the pandemic affects the economy but on the other hand takes lives of people who are holding that economy.
She said the country is quickly sinking as infections surge.
“We now have 102 deaths and we know the public questions our death statistics,” she said.

She appealed to Basotho to do things differently as people are dying in great numbers.
“The danger of the pandemic was seen in our neighbouring country,” she said.
Dr Litabe said most Basotho working in South Africa are concentrated where the pandemic is rife that is why the infections went up after they entered Lesotho for the Christmas holidays.
“Prevention is better than cure,” she said.

She called on Basotho to practise social distancing, the washing of hands with soap under running water and the wearing of masks.
“We are a developing country without enough capacity,” she said.
She said PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), a method widely used to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample to allow scientists to take a very small sample of DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail, is too expensive for the country.

She also said oxygen costs a lot of money therefore Lesotho does not have that muscle to do the job, adding that they do not even have proper expertise like other countries to help control the pandemic.
According to her, primary health care is important as people will not spend a lot to get services.
She said the infections are going up due to delays in testing results as the tests are only done in Maseru.

Dr Litabe stressed that what is important is to use rapid testing that does not even require proper laboratories to operate.
She said they will introduce public health teams to help people in the districts, adding that Maseru already has such teams with a single nurse.
She also said the nurses will help a lot in detecting and tracing those who had contact with infected people.

Dr Litabe said Basotho must join hands together in fighting the pandemic.
She condemned the illegal crossing of some Basotho at undesignated entry points on the borders because they do not get to be tested for Covid-19.
She also complained that many people still gather in large numbers in the villages thus spreading the virus.
Dr Litabe said they want every Mosotho to be responsible and take care through behavioural change.

Nkheli Liphoto

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