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Burundi banks on 'divine protection' despite coronavirus threat


Burundi has recorded its first cases of COVID-19 but unlike many countries across Africa, there are no restrictions on movement in place. Authorities are citing divine protection despite having been infected barely a week ago.

General Evariste Ndayishimiye, the ruling party’s presidential candidate in the May 20 elections is quoted to have said: “Do not be afraid. God loves Burundi and if there are people who have tested positive, it is so that God may manifest his power in Burundi.”

At a market in Bujumbura, the former capital of the tiny East African nation, life seems to go on as normal despite the threat of the virus. It’s business as usual as Burundians refuse to be idle.

But the ordinary citizen is ware of preventive measures amid the divine trust: “We are told that we must wash our hands to protect ourselves and our customers, but it is God who protects the most,” a driver Fidele Bideyi tol the press.

For other residents a local proverb that says ‘‘heaven helps those who help themselves’‘ is even more important in a time like this.

“We pray and believe in God but you know that the Burundian proverb says that God helps the one who helps himself, it is true that we know that God is the Almighty, but no one can just neglect and say that God will spare him from this coronavirus.”

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