Fears food imports could bring COVID-19 to Lesotho



MASERU – The Ministry Health Food Safety Programme Manager Motsamai Mahahabisa has said since Lesotho is already having a challenge to test its citizens, it would be even harder to test all the food items entering the country.
This comes in the wake of reports that COVID-19 can be spread and shared through packaged food products, sea food, fruits and vegetables.
Asked what are they doing as a ministry to ensure that food items entering the country’s borders are not contaminated with the virus, Mahahabisa said: “We take the guidelines from WHO (World Health Organisation); the only thing that we do is to assist businesses for food safety.”
Mahahabisa added COVID-19 is still new hence they have to wait for WHO to show them the way. He said the country is doing its best to guarantee food safety and the ministry is in a process of crafting a Food Safety Policy.
“The country is preparing to have its own laboratories since we cannot always depend in South Africa; we want to make sure that we establish food safety measures during and after corona.”
He advised Basotho to adhere to COVID-19 prevention measures such as wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding eating uncooked food and for the business people in the catering industry should wrap food.
According to Al Jazeera, new cases of the virus were linked to China’s Capital Beijing wholesale products. The wholesale supplies more than 70% of Beijing’s fruits and vegetables, beef, lamb and sea food.
“Tests found out the virus could be carried and spread through produce and packaging. Meaning it could have travelled well beyond the city’s limits. Cases linked to the market have been confirmed in two other provinces,” Al Jazeera said last week.
Completely landlocked in the belly of South Africa, Lesotho imports most of its food needs from that country and this includes meat, vegetables, fruits and milk.
Currently, South Africa is one of the worst countries affected with this pandemic recording 97 302 confirmed cases, 51,608 recovered and 1,930 deaths of coronavirus so far.

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