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Lesotho healthcare workers strike over COVID-19 grievances

Doctors, nurses and laboratory technicians among others are protesting following failed attempts to engage government on how to obtain protective gear.

FILE: A picture taken in Maseru, on 31 January 2020 shows the flag of Lesotho outside the Parliament building. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Lesotho healthcare professionals said that they were downing tools from Monday and they would only attend to emergencies excluding suspected COVID-19 cases.

Doctors, nurses and laboratory technicians among others are protesting following failed attempts to engage government on how to obtain protective gear.

They had given the ministry of health until Friday to respond to their grievances but there's still no reply.

Lesotho has no confirmed COVID-19 cases but with no testing capability, the country has sent 10 suspected cases to the NICD, that came out negative.

Government has declared a state of emergency and a lockdown and a national command centre has been set up.

But doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals said that they remained on the sidelines and decisions were made for them.

They want protective gear, training, members to be paid if they contract the COVID-19 and a risk allowance.

Their associations have come together in a coalition that said it met government last month and issued another ultimatum to get a response by Friday, to no avail.

The coalition said that from today, its members would only attend emergencies but they would not attend any emergencies suspected of coronavirus.