DRC strengthens border security, suspends overseas flights to fight Covid-19
CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Republic of Congo has suspended flights from all countries with high cases of Covid-19 from Friday in a bid to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The government has also heightened security at borders, with personnel on board cargo planes, ships and other means of freight transport required to undergo examination.
The DRC has registered more than 13 cases in about a week since its first case of Covid-19 was reported on March 10.
Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that President Felix Tshisekedi had also ordered the closure of schools, universities, official and private higher institutes. Suspension of all gatherings is also imposed for the next four weeks, starting from Thursday.
Tshisekedi called on the government to take all measures to preserve the country’s “fragile” economy, in particular to prevent the shortage of goods.
This week Jean-Jacques Muyembe, who has coordinated the response to Ebola response and is also head of the DRC's main biomedical laboratory, said he was concerned about whether the country had the capacity to grapple with Covid-19.
On Wednesday, the DRC health ministry received medical equipment from China to fight the virus, which first emerged in the Asian country last December. but has since spread rapidly to many countries around the world, prompting the World Health Organisation to declare it a pandemic.