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01 Apr 2020 | 08:31 PM UTC

DRC: Security forces disperse crowds in Lubumbashi April 1 amid COVID-19 lockdown /update 6

Police and residents clash in Lubumbashi following death of resident by unknown gunmen April 1; further clashes likely over the near term

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Event

Residents of Upemba district in the Katuba commune of Lubumbashi (Haut-Katanga province) blocked roads on Tuesday, April 1, to denounce the overnight killing of a resident by unidentified gunmen in the district. The protesters subsequently clashed with the security forces, who used forcible measures to disperse the crowd who burned tires and set fire to a bus. Further protests are likely over insecurity in the city amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and related restrictions.

Haut-Katanga province, including Lubumbashi, was placed into lockdown on March 23. A state of emergency remains in effect as of April 1, and all borders remain closed except for trucks, ships, or planes bringing in cargo.

The DRC has 109 confirmed cases of COVID-19 currently, and nine deaths. Further spread of COVID-19 is likely over the near term. 

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.