#Top5atFive: Here’s what’s happening in Lesotho and around the globe


Here’s a wrap of some local and global headlines ahead of the weekend.

1. Local headlines

Following the installation of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines, Lesotho will no longer use Tuberculosis (TB) testing machines to run coronavirus (Covid-19) tests. The three PCR machines were officially launched at the National Reference Laboratory  by the Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro on Tuesday.  The government of Lesotho procured one machine and the other two come from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Matekane Group of Companies (MGC).

Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Health Hon. Motlatsi Maqelepo said the PCR machines are used worldwide to test samples for Covid-19. He said the arrival of  PCR machines will assist the country to increase its testing capacity. “This will also help flatten the Covid-19 curve of infections as people infected will now be identified quickly and assisted,” he said. 

 “We did not achieve this milestone alone, MGC supported us. MGC has always been there to offer support,” Maqelepo added.

[Covid-19 lab officially launched, Informative News]

2. Local headlines

The Maseru Bridge customs operational area was temporarily shut down from 6:00am on Thursday as the bridge was being fumigated; the decontamination was scheduled to end at 2:00pm.

The fumigation exercise follows reports of a positive case which has been recorded at the area.

The public was therefore advised by the South African Revenue Services through branch manager, Ncumisa Ntombekhwezi Ndoda that there would be no cargo movement, and all clearing agents were advised to redirect cargo movement to Caledonspoort border post.

Ndoda advised companies that the movement of cargo through the port will be limited to one driver from both sides of the border. The bridge will only be ready for use the next day (Friday) at 6:00am. 

[Maseru Bridge partly closed, The Reporter]

3. Global headlines

Facebook on Wednesday took down a post by US President Donald Trump, which the company said violated its rules against sharing misinformation about the coronavirus. The post contained a video clip, from an interview with Fox & Friends earlier in the day, in which Trump claimed that children are “almost immune” to Covid-19.

A Facebook spokesperson said: This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from Covid-19, which is a violation of our policies around harmful Covid misinformation.

A tweet containing the video that was posted by the Trump campaign’s @TeamTrump account and shared by the president was also later hidden by Twitter for breaking its Covid-19 misinformation rules.

A Twitter spokesperson said the @TeamTrump account owner would be required to remove the tweet before they could tweet again.

YouTube, through a spokesperson, said it had also pulled down the video for violating its Covid-19 misinformation policies. However, the original interview remains available on the Fox News page on the platform. YouTube did not immediately respond to requests to clarify which videos were taken down.

[Facebook, Twitter and YouTube remove Donald Trump posts over coronavirus misinformation, News24]

4. In sports/ lifestyle

Following the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 troika virtual meeting, Lesotho has decided to withdraw its hosting rights of the much anticipated youth games scheduled for December 2020.

In early March, Troika resolved that the 2020 AUSC Region 5 Youth Games be postponed to April/May 2021 should  the Covid-19 pandemic continue to exist by the month of July 2020 and Lesotho was also encouraged to continue to prepare for the hosting of the games.

The Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation Public Relations Officer Maqalika Matsepe said due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak Lesotho resolved to withdraw its hosting rights. Matsepe said the Covid-19 in the country is spreading at an alarming rate “and it seems the fight against this virus worldwide is taking longer than we had anticipated,” he said. Maqalika added that the financial budget aimed for the construction of playgrounds earmarked for the games has also been diverted to helping the country fight against the pandemic. 

The AUSC Region 5 games were launched by the former Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation Dr Mahali Phamotse in October 2019. Over 3000 athletes and officials were expected to grace the Mountain Kingdom for the 10 days sports extravaganza.

[Lesotho withdraw AUSC Region 5 games hosting rights, Informative News]

5. What we’re reading

In this compelling piece, Motebang Senaoana reveals what most of us already know: our consumption is largely driven by our culture, and that means brands in Lesotho have to find ways to get consumers’ trust to become successful. Senaoana also offers a few strategies that entrepreneurs can take to navigate this through strategic communication and brand association. 

[Basotho’s Romanticized Consumerism, Selibeng]


Matlhabeli Molaoli
Matlhabeli is a reader, an Afro-feminist and a firm believer in the power of human-centered design to create lasting social-economic impact. She is a rising junior at Smith College where she majors in both Biochemistry and Anthropology and also dabbles in venture consulting for the local start-up ecosystem. Matlhabeli also enjoys dialogue so she has spent much of her time attending, speaking at and organising TEDx conferences in both Lesotho and South Africa during her time as a student at the African Leadership Academy.