AFRICA/DR CONGO - Cardinal Ambongo criticizes the postponement of the blockade in Kinshasa: "One must not play with people's lives"

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 coronavirus   local churches   bishops   politics  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "In the face of the serious dangers posed to our Country by the coronavirus, the President of the Republic has taken preventive measures. In applying these measures, the governor of the province of Kinshasa had decided an intermittent blockade that should have entered in force today", said Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, Archbishop of Kinshasa, during a press conference in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo held on March 28. “Last night (March 27), however, we learned that these measures have been postponed. This leaves people in complete uncertainty", said the Cardinal who warned "not to play with the life of our people, because life is sacred".
The governor of Kinshasa, Gentiny Ngobila, announced that the capital would go into "total lockdown" for three weeks starting from March 28, due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. But on March 27, the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced that the three week lockdown will be postponed with immediate effect due to the fear of speculation on the prices of basic necessities and for the fear of the increase regarding insecurity in the city.
On March 23, President Félix Tshisekedi declared a state of emergency with immediate effect, closing the country's borders, prohibiting the movement of people, entering and leaving, but authorizing the entry of goods transported by truck, ship and cargo aircraft.
Cardinal Ambongo said he was in favor of a total blockade: "In our opinion, only a total blockade is able to slow down the spread of this terrible epidemic". "However - he added - in order for this total blockade to be truly effective, it must be accompanied by emergency humanitarian measures, that is, make basic food available to the least privileged, provide free water and electricity and fight speculation on prices". The Democratic Republic of Congo has at least 58 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 5 reported deaths. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 31/3/2020)