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COVID-19: More African countries go for total lockdown

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Countries applying lockdown are increasing across Africa. Ghana and Zimbabwe are among those that started the measure today while Morocco, Rwanda and South Africa have been under lockdown.

Congo Democratic Republic has also headed into Coronavirus lockdown with a 30- day curfew decreed in the country.

President Denis Sassou Nguesso made the announcement 24 hours after confirmation of 15 new Coronavirus cases to bring total number of cases to 19.

Streets emptied in Kigali as Rwanda became the first sub-Saharan African country to order a nationwide lockdown last week with South Africa, Africa’s most impacted country following suit.

President Cyril Ramaphosa told forces deployed to enforce the measure that “this is a mercy mission, this is a life-restoration mission, and this is a live-saving mission and this is a life-giving mission.”

Governments have enforced the harshest restrictions in living memory. In Kenya, police fired teargas to clear public markets while Ugandan police shot two men who ignored transport bans.

In Morocco, the restrictive measures are taking a toll on the poor. A resident called Sofian said that “most of the people, who are in this neighbourhood live in only one room, and they are families of six or seven and they can’t stay at home because it’s overcrowded, and with compulsory isolation it is very difficult.”

African businesses are already feeling the pinch of the restrictions.

For his part, Andrew Awoh, employee at a Kenya flower farm said: “It’s affecting my life, because I have children going to school, I myself… I need food, clothing, paying rent and everything of the sort.”

Senegal’s President Macky Sall called for the cancellation of Africa’s debt while Kenya’s government has announced significant tax breaks to ease trade burdens.

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