Lesotho to step up Covid-19 tests

Lesotho to step up Covid-19 tests

MASERU-LESOTHO can now test 2 000 people for Covid-19 per day, thanks to a new testing station that was launched by Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro on Tuesday.
Speaking at the launch, Dr Majoro said testing has to be enhanced so that the exact numbers of people infected by Covid-19 can be known so that they are isolated and treated.

Dr Majoro said the government will establish three shifts to work and operate the machines.
“We want people who will also take care while doing their job,” he said.
He said there was already a massive backlog of unfinished Covid-19 tests.
The Prime Minister said the previous technology used for testing was slow and inefficient.

He said a few weeks ago they received cartridges that they were using, “but now that we have a new sustainable technology we will not be depending on the cartridges anymore”.
Dr Majoro launched the Covid-19 testing station four months after the Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) and Letšeng Diamonds donated the equipment.

The MGC donated the testing machine worth M30 million in early March while Letšeng Diamonds provided the four-roomed modular structure to the National Reference Laboratories (NRL) for Covid-19 testing in mid-April.
The Letšeng donation was worth M400 000.

The structure is situated at the National Laboratory in Botšabelo in Maseru.
Dr Majoro said the MGC boss Sam Matekane “is a hero in the country by always supporting the country in crisis”.
Dr Majoro said Lesotho does not have a lot of money and its health facilities are lagging behind.
“There are not enough health facilities and even health professionals to take care of many people who will be in need of attention when sick,” Dr Majoro said.

He said the government wants to make sure that it minimises the infections.
“We should know how many people get infected so that we do contact tracing,” he said.
Meanwhile, the National Covid-19 Secretariat (Nacosec) Secretary, Doctor Catherine Lephoto, said her team has been working all weekend to install the new PCR machine that the MGC donated.

Dr Lephoto said the team is now doing the verification of the machines and the plan was that by tomorrow the three testing machines will be up and running.
She said they plan to issue 1 800 reports every day.
She said from the minute a swab lands in the lab they can provide results within 24 hours.

“That is what my office is trying to accomplish,” Dr Lephoto said.
“There are not enough workers at the Covid-19 testing labs,” she said.
She said they will have to recruit the necessary workforce to operate 24 hours.

“By next week we are expecting to reach high numbers of tests,” she said.
She said they also want to have a fixed time to release results everyday even though their systems are not ready for that now.

Nkheli Liphoto

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