DRCongo reports first virus death, five new cases
The country has reported 23 cases total since 10 March, and the death brings the total number of fatalities in sub-Saharan Africa to three.
KINSHASA – The Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday reported its first coronavirus death, along with five new cases.
The country has reported 23 cases total since 10 March, and the death brings the total number of fatalities in sub-Saharan Africa to three, following those announced in Burkina Faso and Gabon this week.
The health minister confirmed the fatality, which occurred Friday, along with the new cases.
"All are Congolese. Our teams are taking care of them," Eteni Longondo said on Twitter Saturday.
Though Congolese authorities did not offer information about the deceased patient, local media said he is a close relative of an unnamed minister who has herself tested positive.
"I am a doctor before I am a minister. I care about the confidentiality of the sick, I cannot confirm today that any member of the government or anyone is sick," Longondo told UN radio station Okapi on Friday.
Local media have reported that several ministers have been tested for COVID-19 in the country, though Justice Minister Celestin Tunda Ya Kasende said in a statement on Friday that he was not ill with the virus.
On Friday, the Congolese authorities also fleshed out preventative measures, especially in the capital Kinshasa, home to at least 10 million people where cases have so far been concentrated.
The streets of the normally bustling city were calm Friday, after schools, bars, restaurants and places of worship were closed, while officials said they would limit the number of people on public transport.
At the same time, Zimbabwe has reported its second case of the coronavirus.
Health Minister Obadiah Moyo said the second patient had recently travelled from New York via Johannesburg and developed severe breathing problems on Friday night.
The patient's results for COVID-19 were confirmed earlier on Satuday.
Moyo says his contacts are now being traced.
“Once again, we call upon everyone to remain calm as we manage these confirmed cases of COVID-19. In the meantime, I would like to emphasize the need for us to continue practicing good personal hygiene.”
#BREAKING Health Minister Obadiah Moyo confirms a second coronavirus case in Zimbabwe, that of a 30-year-old Zimbabwean man from Harare who travelled to New York on February 29 and returned home on March 9 pic.twitter.com/WIogg63uWc— ZimLive (@zimlive) March 21, 2020
The first case of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe was confirmed on Friday, at Victoria Falls.
Additional reporting by Nthakoana Ngatane