Kinshasa — The Democratic Republic of Congo has announced the third wave of Covid-19, dealing a new blow to local efforts to convince people to take the vaccines.
In a message to the Congolese people on Thursday, the Minister of Health, Hygiene and Prevention announced that there has been a rise in new infections in the DRC.
"Dear compatriots, the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic in our country is very worrying. Indeed, there has been a considerable increase in cases and deaths in the past four weeks.
"In my capacity as Minister of Public Health, Hygiene and Prevention, I officially announce the occurrence of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in our country, with the city province of Kinshasa as the epicenter, " Dr Jean- Jacques Mbungani said.
"The combination of certain risk factors is at the origin of the increase in observed cases. The main factors are as follows: the relaxation of compliance with the barrier measures put in place, the importation of cases following the movements of populations at our borders, low vaccine coverage against covid-19."
In the DRC, several Indians tested positive a few weeks ago, importing a new variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in China in December 2019.
The authorities fear that the Indian variant, deadlier than the original one, is already in Kinshasa.
However, many people in Kinshasa believe the pandemic no longer exists in the DRC and have ignored the public safety instructions issued by the Health ministry.
Faced with the third wave, the Health minister reminded the people to respect measures taken by political and health authorities to eradicate this disease. He also urged the Congolese population to get vaccinated.
"This is the opportunity to remind the population to strictly respect all current measures and those that may be taken subsequently to curb the health crisis," the minister said.
"This includes the correct and compulsory wearing of masks, hand-washing or the use of hydro-alcoholic solutions, maintenance of social distancing and respecting the 10pm curfew. In addition to all these aforementioned measures, vaccination remains an effective means to protect the population and our economy."
Many not vaccinated
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, only a few people have turned up to be vaccinated.
After more than a month of vaccination, only 20,000 people have received the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.
Among those vaccinated, most are expatriates living in the country.
The Congolese remain wary of the vaccine and it appears poor communication from the government worsened their fears.
The disease has already killed 789 people in the country since March 2020.