The governor of Kinshasa backed down from a total lockdown of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) capital on Friday. In a statement, he said the three-week long total lockdown would be postponed due to the vast increase in the price of basic goods, which it had spurred in the lead up.
After the lockdown was announced, the price of basic food items and essential goods had shot up. In some shops they were up two to three times the normal price by Friday when people flocked to supermarkets. All other measures still remain in place.
DRC has 58 confirmed coronavirus cases. Although Africa has fewer cases of COVID-19 than Europe and the United States, fears are that when the curve begins to rise considerably the sub-Saharan countries’ fragile health systems will be overwhelmed.
Zimbabwe announces lockdown
Zimbabwe will impose a nationwide lockdown for 21 days from Monday to help curb the spread of the coronavirus and security forces may be deployed to enforce it, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.
The decision is seen hurting an economy already struggling with a drought, shortages of foreign exchange and a staggering unemployment rate of over 90%, forcing people to survive on informal trade.
Mnangagwa said in a live broadcast that only state and health workers on duty will be exempted from the lockdown, while funeral gatherings should not involve more than 50 people.
“Some of the measures will be drastic and are sure to upset the daily routines of our lives. Should it become necessary, security forces will be deployed to assist in the enforcement of these measures,” says Mnangagwa.
Nelson Chamisa, the main opposition leader and usually a strident critic of Mnangagwa and his government, said he supported the government’s decision as Zimbabwe was “in circumstances of a catastrophe.”
On Monday Zimbabwe will go under a total lockdown for 21 days. Everyone must stay at home, except those seeking health services, buying food, medicine & vital supplies, & those manning essential services. I know this will upset all of our daily lives but there is no other way 2/4
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) March 27, 2020