Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Lesotho extends nationwide lockdown through 2359 May 5 due to COVID-19. Existing restrictions to remain. Further preventive measures likely.

This alert affects Lesotho

This alert began 22 Apr 2020 12:04 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Start Time/Date: Through at least May 5
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions, entry restrictions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in Lesotho have extended the nationwide lockdown through at least 2359 May 5 to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Existing lockdown restrictions remain in place. These include:

  • The closure of nonessential businesses and a ban on all gatherings of more than 50 people.
  • Local transport restrictions are implemented. Public transport operators are to transport reduced passenger loads with operating times from 0600-1000 and 1500-1800.
  • The country's borders have been closed, including to Lesotho citizens; however, freight transport may continue.


Security forces have been deployed to enforce compliance with additional security deployed to border areas to prevent travelers from entering the country from South Africa. The nationwide lockdown was announced as a preventative measure; no confirmed cases of COVID-19 have yet been detected.

Background and Analysis
Lesotho's travel restrictions and preventive measures correspond with similar actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Lesotho Ministry of Health: www.gov.ls/ministry-of-health/

World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int