Congo has reportedly declared a two-day mandatory lockdown in Haut-Katanga, an area rich in copper and cobalt after two people tested positive for the novel Coronavirus, provincial governor Jacques Kyabula Katwe confirmed in a statement.
As of March 22, the borders of the south-eastern province, whose capital is the mining hub of Lubumbashi, were sealed with immediate effect. Mining companies Ivanhoe, MMG Ltd, and Chemaf were, however, exempted from the ban.
According to the reports, the movement restrictions were eased for the military, police, medical staff and authorized civil servants. Transport such as the trucks and barges were suspended. The state is designing a quarantine facility for at least 75 presumptive cases, who travelled from national capital Kinshasa to Lubumbashi in a flight with a COVID-19 patient.
Additionally, over 30 confirmed positive to the Coronavirus, and two fatalities were recorded in the province.
The governor of Congo shared a video on Twitter saying, “We ask the people to strictly stay at home and contact the medical services in case of an emergency.”
"No activity will be tolerated in Haut-Katanga during this 48-hour period," he further added.
WHO warned that Africa should “prepare for the worst” as the Coronavirus began to spread on its official Twitter handle. The World Health Organization’s director-general was quoted saying in a virtual news conference that South Africa became the continent’s new focus of concern as cases nearly doubled to 116 from two days before.
South Africa’s health minister, Zweli Mkhize, this week called that kind of rate “explosive” in the country with the most cases in sub-Saharan Africa. Fourteen of the latest cases were from the local transmission, and six were in children under 10.
“I think Africa should wake up. My continent should wake up,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who comes from Ethiopia according to an agency report.
“We have low-income workers who cannot afford to self-isolate or take time off work,” said public health expert Dr. Atiya Mosam in an agency report, who also expressed concerns about the large population without clean water or sanitation, and vulnerable to diseases like HIV or tuberculosis.