May 13, 2020 / 11:46 AM / 14 days ago

Remote Lesotho becomes last country in Africa to record COVID-19 case

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Lesotho recorded its first case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the health ministry said, becoming the last country in Africa to be afflicted by the virus.

The ministry said it had conducted 81 tests for COVID-19 from travellers from South Africa and Saudi Arabia, of which one was positive. It was awaiting for results from 301 other tests.

The remote, high-altitude kingdom, nestled in a South African mountain range, had previously been spared the coronavirus, although its bigger, more industrialised neighbour has recorded more than 10,000 cases.

As at 1245 GMT, Africa had 69,764 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 2,421 deaths and 23,857 recoveries, according to a Reuters tally based on government statements and World Health Organization data.

The disease has struck at a time of political uncertainty in Lesotho, with Prime Minister Thomas Thabane due to step down by the end of next week after his coalition collapsed in parliament.

His exit would clear the way for a solution to a political crisis that erupted late last year, when he and his current wife were accused by police of murdering his former wife nearly three years ago. They both deny the charges.

It is unclear when he will step down, although parliament has already provisionally named Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro as his replacement.

Reporting by Sisipho Skweyiya; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Jon Boyle and Pravin Char

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