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African countries applying lockdowns over COVID-19 spread


The lockdown list is growing across the continent. Ghana and Zimbabwe are among those that started the measure today. Among those that have been under lockdown are Morocco, Rwanda and South Africa.

Countries across the continent and other parts of the world are increasingly shutting down to slow the spread of COVID-19. Streets emptied in Kigali as Rwanda became the first sub-Saharan African country to order a nationwide lockdown last week.

Last Friday, South Africa, Africa’s most impacted country followed suit. President Cyril Ramaphosa, told forces deployed to enforce the measure: “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. Sofian, seller told the press: “Most of the people, who are in this neighbourhood live in only one room, and they are families of six or seven.

“They can’t stay at home because it’s overcrowded, and with compulsory isolation it is very difficult,” he stressed. 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.