Lesotho has become the last African country to report its first confirmed coronavirus case, reported Reuters. The health ministry confirmed the case on Wednesday.
“The Ministry of Health informs the Basotho nation and the entire community living in Lesotho, that the country now has the first confirmed case of COVID-19,” The statement signed by Director-General of Health Services read.
The ministry said it had conducted 81 tests for COVID-19 from travelers from South Africa and Saudi Arabia, one of which was positive. The patient, who did not show any signs of illness, has been isolated. The ministry said it had obtained out 597 specimens that have been tested by South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD). While 295 test results have turned out to be negative, 301 are still pending results.
The first positive case comes a week after the country lifted its national lockdown. The Lesotho government had imposed a lockdown on April 30 and lifted it up on May 5. The lockdown was lifted against the advice of the inter-ministerial committee which said the country was not prepared to deal with a possible outbreak since its quarantine facilities comprised just 148 beds.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the tiny mountain kingdom at a time when political uncertainty is looming the country. Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is due to step down by the end of next week after his coalition collapsed in Parliament.
The coronavirus has been slow to spread in Africa, but the numbers of cases continue to rise in the continent. As of Wednesday, Africa had 69,764 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 2,421 deaths and 23,857 recoveries, according to a Reuters tally based on government statements and World Health Organization data.
Lesotho is notably surrounded by South Africa, which has the highest number of confirmed cases in Africa with 11,350.