Brace for the worst, Majoro warns

Brace for the worst, Majoro warns

MASERU-BRACE yourselves for the worst.
That was the chilling message from Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro as he imposed a new countrywide lockdown that began at midnight yesterday.
Dr Majoro said the cabinet had at its weekly meeting on Tuesday agreed on a complete shutdown “because the nation seems to be losing control of the pandemic”.

“We received reports that hospitals are full and mortuaries have no more space for newly arriving bodies,” Dr Majoro said.
He said that in previous weeks the country’s infection rate stood at five percent but now the number had now shot to 60 percent.
He said Lesotho had conducted 41 000 Covid-19 tests with 6 000 cases confirmed as positive.

He said from 40 deaths in recent weeks, the figure had suddenly shot to 85, doubling the number in a matter of days.
“I agree that numbers of recorded deaths might be higher than the current statistics,” he said.
He added that Lesotho’s epidemic curve is now going up from 100 since December 18, saying the number is from 100 to 800 on January 8.
He said under normal circumstances a country must have below five percent of infections “but now we are on 60 percent, it was very low in the previous weeks”.

“This means we are losing control,” he said.
Dr Majoro said Lesotho had moved from foreign transmission of the virus to community transmission which poses a big threat.
“It is now going to be hard to control it at this stage.”

Dr Majoro blamed the high infections on the majority of Basotho working in South Africa’s Covid-19 hot zones who entered the Kingdom in large numbers during the Christmas holidays.
The majority of them entered through illegal entry points where they never tested for Covid-19.

Others still entered through legal ports but they bulldozed their way through without being subjected to tests.
He said in November they recorded 40 infections per week but they are now recording more than 1 000 infections in a week.
On the issue of deaths, he said they used to receive two or three reports per week “but last week we received reports of 20 deaths”.

“We should expect the worst circumstances,” Dr Majoro warned.
He said half of the people tested so far were found with infections.
He stressed that the quarantine facilities and all the health facilities are full and cannot accommodate more patients.
“The death toll too is going up to the extent that mortuary companies are complaining of lack of capacity to accommodate all,” he said.

He said even their surveillance team that tracks people who had contact with the infected is now finding it hard to do its job.
Under the lockdown grocery shops will open from 8am to 4pm while health facilities will be operating 24 hours.
Filling stations too are to operate for 24 hours.
He also said they will also reduce the number of passengers in public transport.

He said people should be aware that funerals are super spreaders and therefore only close family members and 10 grave diggers should be the only ones attending a burial.
He encouraged people to bury their loved ones during the week instead of waiting for weekends.

e said a person should be buried within three days of his death.
He said the reason is that mortuaries are full and are no longer accepting bodies as they have no place to store them.
He urged the nation to treat every dead person like a Covid-19 casualty so as to curb infections from corpses.

Meanwhile, Majoro said the government will start vaccination rollout in April targeting to inoculate 20 percent or over 400 000 people at once.
He also said he has set aside M250 million for a further vaccination of 1.5 million people before the end of this year.

Nkheli Liphoto

Previous Covid-19 survivors speak out
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