General News

Huge rallies spark virus fear in Burundi

Date: Apr 29, 2020

Images of thousands of people mingling at political rallies in Burundi on Monday have sparked concerns that coronavirus infections could soar.

Olivier Manzi, a specialist in infectious diseases, says large gatherings of this nature risk accelerating the spread of the virus.

Official World Health Organisation(WHO) advice during the pandemic is for people observe social distancing to prevent the virus from spreading.

Another is to regularly wash your hands.

Burundi's electoral commission did provide buckets and soap at the ruling party rally in Gitega and the main opposition's event in Ngozi province.

But "the numbers of people are too big to get enough water to wash or sanitise every hand," one participant in told the BBC on Tuesday during the second day of campaigns in Kirundo province.

Burundi's government has closed its borders to try and stop the spread of the virus, only letting in cargo lorries.

Within the country, people have been advised to wash their hands regularly and avoiding shaking hands when greeting someone. Apart from this, the rest of life goes on as normal.

The country has recorded 14 cases of COVID-19, one of whom died.

Burundi's government has insisted elections should go ahead on 20 May regardless of the pandemic.



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