Lesotho Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro on Tuesday imposed a 14-day total lockdown that comes into effect from midnight on Thursday as COVID-19 infections and deaths soar in that country.
The restrictions would ban all outbound international travel by Basotho except for those who have visas for the countries they were travelling to, as well as negative COVID-19 certificates. Inbound international travel by foreign nationals would also be banned.
All businesses would be closed except those in the health, financial and funeral sectors, while essential services involving food and fuel would be allowed to operate.
The mountain kingdom has struggled with testing and contact tracing but in the past week infections reported by the COVID-19 command centre sky-rocketed from 100 per day to 800.
Many of them were detected as migrant workers returning to South Africa who were tested at the borders with South Africa.
Majoro moved the country to orange level lockdown last week, but movement through borders still continued as before.
The new restrictions mean that:
• everyone has to stay at home;
• no events are allowed except to communicate COVID-19 information and only 30 people are allowed to gather;
• funerals would permit a maximum of 10 people and only five people would be allowed to identify the deceased;
• no in-country travel would be allowed, except for medical reasons or permitted essential services; and
• government services would be limited to process birth and death certificates and emergency travel documents.
But it was not clear how health services would be ramped-up to bring down the soaring figures and relieve the health system that was not coping.