DR Congo declares state of emergency, isolates capital over virus

FILE PHOTO: A member of the Muslim community in Goma walks in the flooded courtyard of the Katindo mosque on March 22, 2020, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. – On March 18, 2020, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, asked the places of worship to close for four weeks as part of the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP)

KINSHASA, DR Congo (AFP) — DR Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday 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.

© Agence France-Presse