DRC president signals end of Covid-19 health emergency, urges continued caution
People in the Democratic Republic of Congo are slowly resuming normal activities in the wake of Covid-19 health emergency. President Tshisekedi has ordered a three-stage reopening of business activities, schools, and borders.
In a televised address late on Tuesday, President Felix Tshisekedi announced an end to the Covid-19 health emergency enforced since 24 March.
This involved closing DRC’s borders with nine neighbouring countries, as well as shutting down schools, bars and restaurants.
Tshisekedi said that, from Wednesday 22 July, all shops, banks, restaurants, cafes, firms and bars would be allowed to reopen. Public transport can resume, and large gatherings will be permitted.
Schools and universities can now reopen on 3 August. Airports, ports, borders, and places of worship will follow on 15 August.
Night clubs, stadiums and entertainment venues will also resume business as from 15 August. People in DRC will then be able to move freely across provincial borders.
But Tshisekedi warned that "the end of the state of emergency does not mean the end of the Covid-19 epidemic in our country,” reminding citizens to wear masks in public and wash their hands frequently.
The president said that the recession brought by the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the economic crisis in DRC.
The vast country of more than 80 million people has recorded 8,534 Covid-19 related infections including 196 deaths since 10 March.
Tshisekedi said the figures place the DRC as the ninth worst-hit country in Africa in terms of the number of cases, and 12th in terms of deaths.
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