The Lesotho government confirmed the country's first case of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Wednesday, May 13, after conducting 81 COVID-19 tests on travelers from South Africa and Saudi Arabia. The Ministry of Health added that it will continue vigilant screening and testing efforts at all points of entry, health facilities, and the community; individuals on quarantine will be monitored. Authorities have advised the public to observe social distancing and good personal hygiene.
Lockdown measures imposed due to COVID-19 were eased from Wednesday, May 6. All nonessential businesses may reopen, while public services and state companies are also permitted to resume operations. Churches may conduct services with a maximum of 50 people. Tertiary institutions and schools will gradually resume. Public transport operators have been urged to strictly observe reduced passenger loads and are expected to operate from 06:00 to 10:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00 (local time). To date, Lesotho's borders with South Africa remain closed, though cargo transportation is allowed.
Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in 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.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
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.
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