Lesotho has struggled to contain its coronavirus infections. Image: Adobe Stock

No access: Two-week lockdown for Lesotho as COVID-19 cases spike

The Mountain Kingdom has begun another strict lockdown in an effort to curb the troubling rise in new infections.


Lesotho has struggled to contain its coronavirus infections. Image: Adobe Stock

Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Moeketsi Majoro, imposed the strict new lockdown following a troubling rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country. The new lockdown began at midnight on Thursday 14 January.

The small, land-locked kingdom, which is surrounded by South Africa, has recorded fewer than 6,000 Covid-19 infections and only 85 deaths. Business Insider reports that Lesotho’s COVID-19 testing and reporting have been haphazard, and that the country is now experiencing a surge in infections with hundreds of new cases recorded each day since January.     

The sharp rise in COVID-19 infections is attributed to the number of Lesotho nationals who have returned to the country from South Africa after the Christmas holidays.

Illegal border crossings also fuelling COVID-19 infections

South African immigration officials reported that up to 100 Lesotho nationals a day were testing positive for COVID-19 at border crossings with Lesotho.

British daily newspaper The Guardian has reported that thousands of Lesotho nationals are also believed to have crossed illegally from South Africa into Lesotho.

This was occurring as these nationals were unable to afford the COVID-19 testing and certificates required by immigration officials at border posts.


Maseru Lesotho fly
Lesotho has closed its Moshoeshoe I International Airport until 27 January. Image: Adobe Stock

In an attempt to stem the arrival of Lesotho nationals from South Africa, Lesotho has now closed itself off from South Africa by shutting all its land borders with South Africa.

Moshoeshoe I International Airport in Maseru has been closed until 27 January in an effort to limit the movement of people between the two countries.

South African airline Airlink, which operates scheduled flights to Maseru, has suspended all flights to Lesotho from 14 January.

“We regret but respect the decision to temporarily halt passenger flights to Maseru’s Moshoeshoe International Airport, which is Lesotho’s primary air transport gateway,” Airlink CEO Rodger Foster said in a statement.

“Airlink is looking forward to re-establishing the vital connections that sustain the all-important trade, business, tourism and family ties between the mountain kingdom and its neighbour.”


Lesotho’s new curfew is in place between the hours of 19:00 and 06:00.

Other newly implemented lockdown restrictions include:

  • The entire nation is required to stay at home;
  • No events are allowed, except to communicate COVID-19 information — and only 30 people are allowed at such gatherings;
  • A maximum of 10 people are permitted at funerals and only five people are allowed to identify the deceased;
  • Travelling within the country is not allowed, except for medical reasons or permitted essential services; and
  • Government services are limited to the processing of birth and death certificates, and emergency travel documents.