DRC declares state of emergency to fight COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi arrives at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, Britain January 20, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

Felix Tshisekedi, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), declared on Tuesday a state of emergency across the country to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was prompted by the gravity and dangerous nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the president, who has announced several other additional measures, including the prohibition of all trips between the capital of Kinshasa and the provinces to quarantine Kinshasa.

“I will requisition the units of the Congolese National Police and those of our Armed Forces in order to organize mixed patrols to enforce these measures, for the good of all,” Tshisekedi said in a televised speech.

The president also announced the closure of all the country’s borders, except for traffic of trucks, ships and cargo planes with essential freight.

The DRC reported its first confirmed case on March 10 in Kinshasa and a total of 48 cases so far, including three deaths and a recovery.