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Over 100 travellers from Lesotho test positive at the border daily - officials

Many prefer to get tested at the border where it costs R170 compared to testing in Lesotho where the test is R800 or more.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

JOHANNESBURG - Officials on Tuesday said more than 100 travellers from Lesotho were testing positive for COVID-19 daily and were either being returned if they are Lesotho citizens or admitted for treatment if they are South Africans.

The Department of Home Affairs said it also rejected nearly 150 fake COVID-19 certificates on Monday alone.

Thousands of travellers are passing through the Maseru and Ficksburg borders daily.

On Monday alone, nearly 10,000 travellers passed through the Maseru-Ficksburg and other borders between Lesotho and South Africa.

Many of them are mine, domestic, farm and construction workers and more than a thousand of them didn’t have COVID-19 certificates, so they were tested in South Africa.

Director general of the Department of Home Affairs Tommy Makhode said: “The Maseru border processed 4,223 travellers, 721 were not in possession of PCR certificates and were subjected to the antigen test and 70 tested positive.”

Another 3,500 travellers went through Ficksburg and 511 who didn’t have certificates were tested, 41 were positive – 13 of them South Africans - who were admitted in hospital in the Free State.

Many prefer to get tested at the border where it costs R170 compared to testing in Lesotho where the test is R800 or more but Makhode said others try fraud.

“We were also able to detect 70 fake certificates and the travellers were then sent back to Lesotho.”

More than 120,000 Lesotho nationals went home at the beginning of the festive season and seven bodies of those that drowned trying to cross back to South Africa illegally have been recovered.

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