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DR Congo’s second city in coronavirus lockdown

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A Protestant radio presenter in Goma hosts a program so the faithful are no longer allowed to go to the church in Goma on March 22, 2020, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. – On March 18, 2020, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, asked the places of worship to close for four weeks as part of the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP)

The second-largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) began a 48-hour lockdown on Monday after the arrival of two people with suspected coronavirus aboard a flight from Kinshasha.

Security forces were deployed in the city of Lubumbashi, in southeastern DRC, where the streets were deserted and stores were closed, an AFP journalist said.

The move came after two people with suspected coronavirus arrived on Sunday on a scheduled flight from the capital, the authorities of Haut-Katanga province said.

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Fast-track tests were carried out on them and the results were positive.

Samples have been sent to the National Institute for Biomedical Research (IRNB) in Kinshasa for confirmation, Health Minister Eteni Longondo said.

“A 48-hour-long total confinement has been declared overall Haut-Katanga province as of Monday,” Governor Jacques Kyabula said in a statement.

The measure “will enable the authorities to identify the other passengers aboard this plane for quarantining,” he said.

The plane was carrying 77 passengers, the authorities said.

Haut-Katanga, rich in copper and cobalt, is one of 26 provinces in the DRC, the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa.

The DRC has recorded 30 cases of coronavirus since March 10, two of them fatalities.

Four legislators in Kinshasa on Monday urged President Felix Tshisekedi to place the sprawling capital “in quarantine and isolate it from the rest of the country.”

“We are extremely concerned about the risk of the virus spreading as a result of travel from Kinshasa and the rest of the country,” they said.

Tshisekedi was to chair a meeting on coronavirus later Monday, his press office said.

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