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Congo's lockdown extension bites traders

Republic of the Congo

Traders and transport operators in the Republic of Congo are worried.Containment, curfews and a state of health emergency imposed due to coronavirus have been extended for 20 more days from April 21. And this is a huge hurdle for the country’s informal sector workers.

The traders in the commercial city of Pointe Noire, mostly rely on day- to- day sales for a living to fend for themselves and their families.

“In this time of confinement, business is bad. I don’t even have anything at home. I have three mouths to feed. Out of the 20 days, 3 days of sale in the week is not much for us”, Macosso Lovely said.

Another trader, Kounda Blaise is devastated about how security officers are enforcing the coronavirus measures.

“It’s deplorable for the people waiting for supplies. Vehicles have difficulty arriving and when they do, they’re blocked, because they have to wait for days and the foods deteriorate and there’re foods that can’t stand the heat’‘, Blaise said.

On April 6, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in association with the Ministry of Transport in a statement called for the facilitation of free delivery of travel certificates to operators of essential goods and services. But on the ground, it is a completely different scenario.

“From the Mayaka market alone, several barriers have been mounted, how will people survive this? The president of the republic said let the traders work. Even when you have the pass, especially the police, they won’t leave you alone.’‘

So far, Congo has registered 200 coronavirus cases, 6 deaths and 19 recoveries.

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