Three die of Covid

Three die of Covid

MAPUTSOE – THE Covid-19 pandemic is slowly gathering momentum in Lesotho with 407 positive cases being recorded in a single day this week.
The National Covid-19 Secretariat (Nacosec) said three people had died of the disease this week while the Lesotho Police Staff Association (Leposa) said two of its members had also died of the disease.
The family of one of the police officers confirmed that the cop died of Covid-19.

A trade unionist who asked for anonymity said an employer of Chinese origin had also died of the disease in the Maseru West Industrial Area.
Nacosec said it had officially recorded 244 positive cases this week.
However, the Leribe District Administrator Mohlophehi Mohobelo said 407 factory workers had tested positive.
Mohobelo told thepost last night that in one firm there were over 200 positive cases.

thepost also heard that two textile companies in Maseru, Ever Success and Precious Garments, had closed their doors after they were hit by the virus.
Precious Garments closed earlier this week while Ever Success closed yesterday.
Mohobelo said they are already working with Nacosec and the Ministry of Health to contain the situation.
Mohobelo said they are battling a serious shortage of cars to accomplish their work because they have to do contact tracing.
“But we are unable to do this with the speed that we need because we have no resources such as cars,” Mohobelo said.

Mohobelo said with the disease wreaking havoc in the factories, they have advised the infected to be quarantined so that they stop its spread.
“The factories have not been closed. The work is still in progress,” he said.
To fight the spread of the disease in the area, Mohobelo said they have arranged special transport for Basotho returning from South Africa so that they do not mingle with Basotho living in Lesotho.
South Africa is considered a high risk country in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nacosec spokesman, Thabo Ntoi, announced on a local radio station that close to 1 000 Basotho enter into the country from South Africa every week.
Mohobelo said the infections in the district started in schools and now they have reached the factories.
The Independent Democratic Union of Lesotho (IDUL) Deputy Secretary General, May Rathakane, said a number of factory workers in Maseru and Maputsoe have tested positive.
“This is not in our control,” he said.

Rathakane said chances are high that more factories will shut their doors over the pandemic.
“The problem is that some of the employers do not want the employees to stay at home when they are sick because they will have to pay them,” Rathakane said.
Rathakane said unions “don’t have any powers to inspect factories in anyway”.

He said they usually report to the ministry to inspect such factories but the response was “there was no transport to go to factories although the outbreak was rapid.”
He said over 10 factories in Maseru and Maputsoe were closed at different times after employees got infected.
“Following their closure, we tried to talk to both Labour and Trade Ministers for intervention,” he said.
“The Trade Minister had promised to ensure compliance after lockdown. Up until now, nothing has been done,” he said.
“Unfortunately the infections are growing”.
“We were promised vaccines by the Prime Minister but it seems like we were forgotten.”

Rathakane said employers are not keen to adhere to Covid-19 regulations.
“They don’t care about employees … they hide infected people. Such people are instructed in secret to go and stay at home and hide from their colleagues that they are sick. It’s very common,” he said.
Labour Minister Moshe Leoma said they do regular inspections and talk to Nacosec where necessary.

“There are a lot of infections in factories and we were informed that those infected were isolated and such factories disinfect the area,” Leoma said.
He said the Labour Commissioner informed him that “no firm was closed”.
“The office will issue a full report after visiting all factories tomorrow,” he said.
“We recommended that firms with infections be closed but there is reluctance,” he said.

’Mapule Motsopa & Majara Molupe

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