Residents in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital have displayed a strong disbelief and indifference towards the Covid-19 pandemic that has moved the world into hiding.
Workers from the official committee to fight coronavirus in the area continue to face rising cases of hostility and abuse by locals.
Despite the Covid-19 deaths of several high-profile people, there is still a belief that the disease does not exist in DR Congo.
“There’s no corona!” “Get out of here”. “Leave us in peace”. “The disease doesn’t exist”– a response that strikes fear into watchdogs battling DR Congo’s coronavirus cases.
On 20 May, the official committee to fight the coronavirus said three of its workers were threatened at knifepoint, part of what the government last Friday described as “rising cases” of abuse of virus campaigners.
The hostility in the chaotic capital of 10 million people is such that Caritas and two grassroots groups called Lucha and Filimbi have resorted to going out in groups to spread awareness messages and hand out masks.
‘Corona is in Europe, in China’
In the districts of Victoire and Selembao, they were recently greeted by scores of locals who wagged their forefinger at them in disapproval or screamed “Corona eza te!” (“There’s no Corona!” in the Lingala language.)
Many, however, accepted a mask, although one admitted that this was to avoid the risk of a 5 000-franc ($2.60) fine for not wearing one.