DR Congo's Tshisekedi convenes a special cabinet meeting over coronavirus

Tuesday March 17 2020

DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi.

DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi. The president is expected to announce new measures to tackle the Covid-19 in DR Congo. PHOTO | AFP 

PATRICK ILUNGA
By PATRICK ILUNGA
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Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday held an ‘extraordinary’ meeting with a council of ministers to consider implementing a raft of measures to tackle the new coronavirus (Covid-19), the presidency announced.

In a statement, the presidency said that Tshisekedi "intends to step up a gear and discuss with the government the best approach to warn the population against any attack by the Covid-19 pandemic".

On Monday, Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba chaired a meeting with a multi-sectoral crisis committee on the coronavirus.

DR Congo confirmed its fourth case on Tuesday, a 34-year-old Congolese returning from the United States via France.

"I was informed by Institut National pour la Recherche Biomedicale of a fourth confirmed case of coronavirus in DRC. The patient is a Congolese resident in Kinshasa who stayed in the United States and returned on March 8, passing through France. Congolese must continue to observe preventive measures," said Health minister Dr Eteni Longondo.

The Congolese senate on Tuesday suspended its plenary sessions until further notice.

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The Congolese Football Federation has also suspended all local competitions for 30 days.

There have also been calls on the government to shut schools and universities temporarily to prevent potential spread of coronavirus.

Covid-19, first reported in Wuhan, China, last December, has claimed over 7,000 people globally with 173,344 confirmed cases, according to WHO.

Regionally, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Tanzania have reported presence of the virus.

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