Lesotho extends coronavirus lockdown by two weeks

Lesotho on Tuesday extended a three-week nationwide lockdown by another 14 days until May 5 despite having yet to detect a single case of coronavirus.

“During this time, government will procure specialised equipment such as oxygen ventilators, patient monitors and protective clothing for health facilities,” Prime Minister Thomas Thabane said in a televised address to the nation.

Earlier on Tuesday, Thabane’s office said the police minister had been arrested for failing to appear in court to face charges for flouting lockdown regulations.

Minister Lehlohonolo Moramotse was allegedly seen buying alcohol, which has been prohibited until the end of the shutdown.

Lesotho authorities first announced a 24-day lockdown late last month over fears that the new coronavirus could cross the border from South Africa, which entirely surrounds the tiny kingdom.

South Africa has the continent’s highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with 3 465 infections recorded to date.

While Lesotho remains one of the very few countries – and the only one in the southern Africa – that has not reported a coronavirus case, it also does not have testing capacity.

Thabane said the two-week lockdown extension would be used to carry out mass testing in hospitals and high-risk areas.

Lesotho extends coronavirus lockdown by two weeks