Lesotho is under a nationwide 21-day lockdown, ongoing since 00:01 (local time) on Monday, March 30, to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the country. The lockdown is expected to remain in effect until Tuesday, April 21.
Residents will still be permitted to buy food and seek medical care during this period. Emergency responders, health workers, and security service staff are exempt from the lockdown measures. All businesses will reportedly be closed except for supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, petrol stations, as well as healthcare centers. Water and power supplies will remain operational. Individuals will be allowed to attend funerals where not more than 50 people are expected to attend.
Public transport operators have been urged to strictly observe a reduced passenger loads and are expected to operate from 06:00 to 10:00 and 15:00 to 18:00 (local time).
Lesotho's borders with South Africa will be closed, though the supply of goods will not be disrupted.
As of March 31, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lesotho. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.