DR Congo declares state of emergency, isolates capital over Covid-19 virus

An Iranian man buries the journalist Abdollah Zavieh, who passed away due to coronavirus disease, at Behesht Zahra cemetery in Tehran March 24, 2020. ― Reuters pic
An Iranian man buries the journalist Abdollah Zavieh, who passed away due to coronavirus disease, at Behesht Zahra cemetery in Tehran March 24, 2020. ― Reuters pic

KINSHASA, March 25 ― DR Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi yesterday declared a state of emergency and ordered the isolation of the capital Kinshasa from the rest of the country to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

The new measures include a ban on all travel from Kinshasa to the provinces and from the provinces to the capital to allow for the confinement of the city, he said.

“Given the seriousness and the dangerous nature of this situation, I declare a state of emergency,” Tshisekedi said in a televised address.

The country has registered 45 cases of the virus including three fatalities, all in Kinshasa.

The isolation of the capital means no passenger flights in or out of Kinshasa, though cargo flights will be allowed.

The travel ban includes all public transport and buses as well as river transport in and out of the city.

The president said the DR Congo would also close its borders to all travel except for trucks, ships and planes carrying cargo.

The second largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lubumbashi, began a 48-hour lockdown on Monday after the arrival of two people with suspected coronavirus aboard a flight from Kinshasha. ― AFP

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