As of Oct. 8, authorities in Lesotho have partially reopened borders. Several COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.
Alert Begins 08 Oct 2020 12:53 PM UTC
Alert Expires 22 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Business and travel disruptions, entry restrictions, increased security
As of Oct. 8, authorities in Lesotho have partially reopened borders as part of containment efforts in curbing the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
- The border crossing points at Maseru Bridge, Caledonspoort (Butha Buthe), Maputsoe Bridge, Qacha’s Nek Bridge, and Vanrooyens Gate (Mafeteng) are open for travelers specified below. Air borders remain closed until further notice.
- Students, business people, the critically ill, those with special needs, and those who are permitted to live and work outside Lesotho borders are permitted entry; however, the movement of other persons into and out of the country remains prohibited.
- Essential services and trade, such as humanitarian aid and cargo, is permitted.
- Travelers permitted entry are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken no longer than 72 hours before arrival.
- Arriving travelers will be screened; those showing symptoms are required to quarantine for 14 days. Travelers may be required to quarantine at a government facility at their own expense.
- Basotho nationals who exit Lesotho with a negative COVID-19 test will be permitted to re-enter within seven days of the initial test taken. If a traveler returns after seven days, then they are required to quarantine for 10-15 days.
- Restaurants are permitted to operate between 0600-1600.
- Sporting events are permitted to take place with no more than 100 spectators.
- Senior grades in schools and universities have been permitted to reopen. Authorities will announce dates for the reopening of schools for junior grades in the coming days.
- Gym and fitness facilities are permitted to operate outside and with no more than 100 people.
- Religious and public activities are permitted to resume with 50 people at indoor venues and 100 people at outdoor venues.
- Public transport has been permitted to operate at full capacity, providing that social distancing measures and the wearing of protective facemasks are adhered to.
- Businesses and factories are permitted to remain open, operating at full capacity, but must be divided into shifts. Management must ensure that a record of attendance on business premises is made each day.
The partial lifting of restrictions began Aug. 23. Authorities have downgraded the state of health emergency from orange (stage four) to purple (stage three), based on a five-stage severity rating system concerning the number of active COVID-19 cases. 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. Those caught contravening COVID-19 measures and restrictions will face penalties, such as fines.
Background and Analysis
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.
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.
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.