1 846 new Covid-19 cases while Lesotho asks for open borders

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As of Friday, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa is 620,132, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced. The country has also recorded 115 more deaths – 14 from KwaZulu-Natal, 47 from Gauteng, 10 from Eastern Cape, 16 from North West, 18 from Mpumalanga. This brings the total number of deaths to 13,743.

“We extend our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health care workers that treated the deceased patients. Our recoveries now stand 533,935, which translates to a recovery rate of 86%,” said Mkhize.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has said that a team made up of South African officials and their counterparts in Lesotho has been established to look into related issues and how to address these in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant closure of borders.

During a briefing on Friday outlining the services the department of home affairs will resume under Alert Level 2 of the lockdown, Motsoaledi said on Wednesday he was part of a delegation led by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Naledi Pandor, who met with Lesotho’s Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu to discuss the mountain kingdom’s request to open up the borders between the two nations.

Motsoaledi said it was pointed out to the Lesotho delegation that since South Africa is the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, opening up the borders between the two nations could create problems for the mountain kingdom and that it would not be inconceivable that the number of Covid-19 positive cases in the latter nation could increase “in a way that is unimaginable”.

The Citizen