President Félix Tshisekedi lifts COVID-19 state of emergency in DRC, authorizes gradual reopening of businesses, schools, churches and nightclubs

President Félix Tshisekedi has lifted COVID-19 state of emergency in DRC and authorized a gradual reopening of businesses throughout the country.

According to the new presidential directive, businesses, including banks, restaurants, bars, and public transport would reopen on Wednesday July 22.

On August 3, schools are expected to resume from the primary level to the university.

The President said churches, airports, seaports, and all borders would reopen on August 15. Also, stadiums and nightclubs would reopen on August 15.

According to him, lockdown and shutdown measures brought COVID-19 death rate in DRC from 11 percent to 2.4 percent while death toll has continued to decrease in July.

DRC is the 9th most affected country in Africa in number of infections and the 12th country in terms of deaths, the President said.

He said with the reopening of businesses and public spaces, everyone is required to wear a face mask in public, and apply regular hand hygiene.

President Tshisekedi declared a state of emergency across the country to fight the coronavirus pandemic on March 24, just two weeks after the DRC reported its first confirmed case on March 10 in Kinshasa.

The announcement also included several other measures, including the prohibition of all trips between the capital of Kinshasa and the provinces to quarantine Kinshasa.

“I will requisition the units of the Congolese National Police and those of our Armed Forces in order to organize mixed patrols to enforce these measures, for the good of all,” Tshisekedi said in a televised speech.

The president also announced the closure of all the country’s borders, except for traffic of trucks, ships and cargo planes with essential freight.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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