COVID-19: CCL worried by lockdown disrespect

MATHATISI SEBUSI

MASERU – The COVID-19 National Emergency Command Centre (NECC), the Lesotho government and the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) have voiced concern over citizens’ non-compliance with set national lockdown rules. The trio has, therefore, sought the assistance of King Letsie III to appeal to the nation to submit to the lockdown regulations for their own protection and safety.

The lockdown, which came into force on March 29, has been disregarded by residents in the capital city, Maseru, the other nine district town centres as well as villages, leading to several incidents of confrontation between citizens and law enforcement agencies – video clips of soldiers and the police abusing and torturing ordinary citizens have flooded social media platforms since. An NECC progress report released yesterday also noted that the CCL has observed that Basotho have failed to adhere to the social distancing and other recommended health precautions as advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health.

The report shows that CCL further brought to the attention of the nation it is only in fighting the COVID-19 as a united front that the nation would eventually emerge victorious, standing behind the Sesotho theme #IPABALLE, BABALLA BA BANG – essentially meaning that it is time for Basotho to work in solidarity despite political, religious, societal class and other factors that separate people.

Furthermore, it pleaded for broadening scope of information dissemination since a large section of society remains ignorant of the real issues pertaining to infection and prevention of COVID-19. The report noted with appreciation that government has received some protective material during this time of pandemic from international friends of goodwill, which they pleaded should be put to good use.

It further noted some corporate players who contributed immensely with posters and flyers as part of the information, education communication drive, with government calling on more support as it is important to fight the pandemic in a united front. “There is also a need to decentralise information dissemination to district, community councils and khotla level as this can reach most Basotho at community level,” reads the report.

The CCL urged the Ministry of Health to provide facts and credible information as this could help during information dissemination. “The churches availed the use of churches for training and other facilities at their disposal, provision for psycho spiritual support at all levels where necessary,” the report reads. The report further indicated that there is still no cure for COVID-19, “hence it is imperative that every citizen abide by all provided precautionary measures during and after the lockdown.”

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