Roundup: Mixed reactions as Brazzaville bans flights from Kinshasa over Delta variant concern

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 30, 2021
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BRAZZAVILLE, July 29 (Xinhua) -- There have been mixed reactions following a decision by the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) to ban all flights from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the COVID-19 Delta variant is responsible for 84 percent of infections.

The decision, which applies to all airlines serving the DRC, particularly affects Air France flights that connect on a daily basis the two countries' capitals, namely Brazzaville and Kinshasa.

Minister of Transport, Civil Aviation and Merchant Marine, Jean-Marc Thystere Tchicaya of Congo-Brazzaville announced the decision early this week in a letter addressed to the director-general of Air France of the two Congos, Olivier Jallet.

The minister requested that the airline company's flight stopovers in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire have to avoid going through Kinshasa in an effort to prevent people from the risk of infection.

Air France official Jallet in response said there has been no infection record in the flights, noting that changing the route can impact customers.

Brazzaville's decision gets mixed reactions from its citizens. "This is a good decision taken by our authorities because of the contagion of the Delta variant. Prevention is better than cure," Charlotte Kimpouni, 35, a teacher and mother of three, told Xinhua.

"This is a serious measure. It not only punishes passengers, but it will also cause a significant loss of revenue for the airline companies," said Serge Tchitembo, 42, an IT specialist.

Due to the high circulation of the Delta variant in the DRC, France and Belgium have classified the country in the "red zone".

According to the World Health Organization's Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, since last May, Africa has been caught up in a third wave of the pandemic that "is picking up speed, spreading faster, hitting harder" and "threatens to be Africa's worst yet".

The Delta variant, the most contagious COVID variant to date, has been reported in 16 countries, including South Africa, Uganda and the DRC, prompting Brazzaville to decide to ban all flights from Kinshasa from stopping at Brazzaville.

No cases of the Delta variant have been reported in Congo-Brazzaville, which has so far recorded 13,156 cases of COVID-19, including 177 deaths. Enditem

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