Lusaka – A surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths in the DRC and Zambia have seen authorities following their Southern African peers by tightening public health measures.
In the DRC, President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday said nightclubs must close and funeral wakes will be banned for two weeks. A 10pm-5am curfew has been effected, “with military patrols, (and) violators will be severely punished”.
The country of about 80 million people has had around 40,000 COVID-19 cases and 854 deaths since March 2020. Cases are rising, with 250 new infections recorded on Tuesday alone, including 218 in the capital Kinshasa.
President Tshisekedi urged Congolese to get vaccinated. The country has received 1.7 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines and anticipates deliveries from China, Russia and the United States.
In Zambia, the government on Wednesday closed schools for 21 days, while tertiary and higher learning institutions will only conduct online sessions for a month.
Cabinet Secretary Mr Simon Miti said bars and casinos would only operate Friday to Sunday from 6pm to 10pm, while places of worship can open for four hours. Attendance of funerals has been limited to 50 mourners, the same for weddings and other gatherings – subject to approval by health authorities.
“Public transport operators should ensure that passengers were all masked up this is mandatory and local authorities should ensure that all bus stations and markets are disinfected at atleast once a week, “he said.
On Wednesday, the country recorded 48 COVID-19 deaths and 3,026 infections.