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

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From the upcoming Covid-19 mass testing to the UN’s warning of a mental health crisis, here’s a wrap of the headlines you need to know going into this weekend.  

1. Local headlines:

The Prime Minister (PM) Dr. Moeketsi Majoro visited the National Laboratory this past Tuesday to ensure that there is enough equipment and machines for testing and extracting samples for Coronavirus (Covid-19).

The PM explained that samples sent to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa (SA) take a couple of days before they return, which is dangerous because the person tested could come into other people while waiting for results. This is why the country has to have its own services for conducting tests. Right now, the number of infections in SA keeps rising so they are now forced to send samples of only those who crossed borders illegally with signs of coronavirus.

Majoro said in two weeks all necessary equipment will have arrived in the country and mass testing will commence. Director at the National Laboratory Service Tsietso Motšoane said they are expecting an extracting machine from Matekane Group of Companies (MGC), the second one donated by World Health Organization (WHO) and the last machine from NICD in SA and medical supplies from Jack Ma Foundation. [Covid-19 mass testing in two weeks, Informative News]

2. Local headlines: 

Basotho youth have partnered with Group II (Pty) Ltd to respond to the global coronavirus pandemic by inventing a sanitizing booth that functions as a cleaning machine. The spread of coronavirus certainly left the global economy vulnerable but it also opened up room for innovation and creativity; an example of this is the growth of mask design and manufacturing in the global market. In the same struggle, Makhabane Letsie and Arnand Calitz, in collaboration with Dr. Motsotuoa Makoa of Group II (Pty) Ltd, designed a sanitizing booth for shopping centers, large offices and public transport.

Letsie says the national lockdown rendered their welding, boiler making and pipefitting company, PALPP Trading, a non-essential service provider. This was also an opportunity to think out of the box, which was made easier by the company’s incorporated skills. The sanitizing booth was built using Letsie’s construction skills while his partner – an electrician – designed the internal structure. 

This invention is a call to business owners and public transport operators who serve large populations on a daily basis to also join in protecting the nation against the outbreak. Finite Magazine Lifestyle Club partner, Style Hub is already enjoying the unique product and assures clients utmost safety.  

For more information and orders for custom made sanitizing booths, contact PALPP Trading website on www.palpptrading.co.za or send an email at [email protected]. [Basotho invent sanitizing machine, Informative News]

3. Global headlines:

Ethiopia’s upper house of parliament has agreed to extend the prime minister and government’s term in office beyond October because elections have been delayed. Polls were due to be held in August – the first since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018 – but officials have postponed them because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The country’s nine regional governments have also had their terms extended in a binding ruling by the House of Federation. It suggested that after the pandemic was no longer considered a threat to the public, elections should be held within nine months to a year.

The decision comes two days after the speaker of the upper house, Keriya Ibrahim, announced her resignation, accusing the government of making unconstitutional attempts to stay in power. During its session on Wednesday, the House of Federation also postponed a national census, which was due to be held this year – the third time it has been delayed. [Ethiopian PM’s term extended because of coronavirus, BBC]

4. In lifestyle: 

There is confusion over who must give the green light for sports to return and as a result all sporting activities in the country are set to remain suspended for the foreseeable future.

The Ministry of Sports said the National Emergency Command Centre (NECC) will give the go-ahead on when it is safe to return to competitive sport because it is the body dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic in Lesotho. 

The NECC, however, said it takes recommendations from the government’s ministries but it had not received any recommendations with regards to sports from its ministry. Two weeks ago the government’s new gazette allowed for the resumption of operations of businesses, including the sale of alcohol on specified dates, but it made no specifications regarding sports.

The LEFA urged players and match officials to begin individual training in the meantime but advised clubs to ensure their players adhere to strict safety measures. Across the world sports activities are resuming with neighbouring South Africa now allowing non-contact sports to begin training. [Sports in limbo, The Post]

5. What we’re reading: 

The World Economic Forum recently released this timely article showing why the UN is warning of a global mental health crisis as a result of the coronavirus crisis. It also has helpful links to other articles that offer recommendations on how we can better our mental health during this difficult time. [U.N. warns of global mental health crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic, World Economic Forum]

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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.