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04 May 2020 | 12:06 PM UTC

DRC: Face mask use compulsory in public from May 4 in Lubumbashi /update 12

DR Congo News Alert

Authorities in Lubumbashi announce face mask use in public compulsory as of May 4 amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic; abide by all government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/4/2020, 12:00 AM until 5/25/2020, 11:59 PM (Africa/Kinshasa). COUNTRY/REGION DRC, DRC

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On Thursday, April 30, Lubumbashi mayor, Ghislain Robert Buluma Lubaba, announced that the wearing of face masks in public will be mandatory across the city - notably in stores, markets, public transport, public service offices - from Monday, May 4, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). According to local authorities, individuals who do not respect the measures will be subject to a 5000 CFA Franc (USD 8) fine. The first COVID-19 case was reported in the area on April 24.

Previously, on April 22, authorities announced the reopening of supermarkets and certain banks in the administrative and commercial center of the capital Kinshasa (Gombe district), following previous lockdown measures. The use of face masks has been made compulsory in public spaces in Kinshasa since April 20.

On March 23, President Felix Tshisekedi declared a state of emergency, closing the country's borders and banning all inbound and outbound traffic. Only trucks, ships, and planes carrying cargo will be allowed to enter the country.

As of May 4, there are 684 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 34 related fatalities nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.


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.


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.


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