Congo mining provinces impose new COVID-19 lockdowns (Reuters U.S. – June 16, 2020)

KINSHASA (Reuters) – Authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo’s southeastern mining heartland announced temporary lockdowns on Tuesday in an effort to widen coronavirus testing and prevent a worrying situation from worsening, governors said.

Cases have multiplied in the central African nation despite the imposition of short-term lockdowns in some urban centres and restrictions on movement. A lack of local testing has fanned fears the virus is spreading undetected.

Jacques Kyabula Katwe, governor of the mineral-rich Haut-Katanga province, said a new 48-hour lockdown would come into force in the mining hub of Lubumbashi and the border towns of Kasumbalesa and Kipushi over the coming weekend.

“The issue: testing the contacts of (COVID-19) contacts … The situation is worrying,” Katwe tweeted.

Separately, the governor’s office of neighbouring Lualaba province said passenger traffic would be suspended with Haut-Katanga between June 18 and 22. Food, medical and mineral transport would not be affected, it said in a statement.

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