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Lesotho records first COVID-19 case

Lesotho, the last African country to have been unaffected by coronavirus, on Wednesday announced it had detected its first case of COVID-19.

The virus was detected on an individual among 81 people who were tested after arriving last week from Saudi Arabia and neighbouring South Africa, the health ministry said in a statement.

“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,” Director-General Dr. Nyane Letsie said.

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The patient is a Lesotho national studying in Saudi Arabia.

Lesotho went into lockdown on March 29 to protect itself from a potential spread of the virus from South Africa, which entirely surrounds the kingdom and has the highest number of confirmed cases on the continent.

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane loosened the restrictions on May 6 allowing “all non-essential services and enterprises” to “temporarily open shop”.

South Africa has 11,350 confirmed cases and 206 deaths.