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Land border between Burundi and DR Congo officially reopens

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Burundi is reopening its Gatumba border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from the town of Uvira this Tuesday following a long period of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Public Health explained this move by the great influx of people at this border compared to the other borders

"Any case that comes in is screened, so there is no risk, but in relation to the quarantine at Bujumbura International Airport, we have issued recommendations that have been submitted to the High Authority. We await the response," says the Thaddée Ndikumana, Burundian minister of public health.

According to the local media, all foreigners entering Burundi through the Gatumba border will have to pay US$30 for the COVID-19 test while Congolese living in Burundi will be allowed to return to the DRC through this border free of charge.

"We have been blocked for a year and three months from leaving the DRC because the borders were closed when we were on a family visit in Uvira (eastern Congo). As it has been a long time, some residence permits have expired and others have been lost," expressed Chantal Nsabimana, Burundian returning home after being stranded in DRC.

"We see that this reopening is not going to help us because we cannot cross the border. We don't have that $30, so how can we say that we are being helped? Trade works when you cross the border, get supplies and go back home," expressed another Congolese trader.

The Gatumba border was closed in March 2020 as part of the fight against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, on the DRC side, the Kavimvira border has been reopened since August 2020.