Chad locks down capital for first time as COVID-19 cases rise

CHAD has locked down its capital N’djamena for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and has declared a dusk to dawn curfew due to a rise in infections, a decree signed by President Idriss Deby showed.

The West African nation has until now reported a relatively low number of cases compared with other countries in the region, with 2,113 COVID-19 cases since March, and 104 deaths.

President Idriss Deby

New daily cases fell into the single digits in early December, according to Reuters data. It has risen to double digits in recent days, mostly in the capital, including 36 on Friday, health ministry data showed.

Reuters data showed that COVID-19 infections are increasing in Chad, with 19 new infections reported on average each day. That’s 68% of the peak — the highest daily average reported on May 10, as a second wave of infections hit the region.

The decree said the lockdown that starts on New Year’s Day will last for a week, and could be extended. The city’s borders will close. Chad’s airspace will also close, allowing only cargo flights.

Schools, universities, places of worship, bars, restaurants and non-essential public services will shut down. Gatherings of over 10 people are banned.

Africa has recorded 2.7 million coronavirus infections and 64,000 deaths as of Thursday, Reuters data showed.

Thomson Reuters Foundation