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28 Mar 2020 | 05:11 AM UTC

DRC: Authorities postpone lockdown on Kinshasa March 27 /update 5

Authorities postpone lockdown on Kinshasa amid insecurity and price speculation on basic goods March 27; follow government directives



On Friday, March 27, authorities announced that Kinshasa's three-week lockdown will be postponed sine die amid fear of price speculation on basic goods and increased insecurity in the city.

This comes a day after Kinshasa's Governor Gentiny Ngobila announced that the capital would be placed in "total containment" for three weeks as of Saturday, March 28, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

On Monday, March 23, President Felix Tshisekedi declared a state of emergency with immediate effect, closing the country's borders, banning all traffic, both inbound and outbound, though allowing trucks, ships, and cargo planes.

As of March 28, there are 54 confirmed COVID-19 cases and four reported death nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is expected.


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 labored 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.


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.