NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Burundi will close its land and water borders starting Monday and all passengers passing through the Bujumbura airport will be escorted by police, the government said Friday as COVID-19 cases surge again in parts of the African continent.
This is the second time the East African nation has closed its borders to help contain the spread of the virus.
Early in the pandemic, the administration of the late President Pierre Nkurunziza faced criticism for not taking the coronavirus seriously. But new President Evariste Ndayishimiye shortly after taking office in June called COVID-19 the country’s “worst enemy.”
The mass screening the president announced in July will be launched again for 30 days, the committee in charge of fighting the virus said.
Under the new measures, people arriving in Burundi must quarantine for seven days, and hotels hosting people in quarantine must receive no other client. People who violate the measures will pay fines.
In a public address at the end of December, the president warned that those who disregard pandemic measures will be considered as ”people bringing weapons to kill Burundians.”
Burundi has 885 confirmed virus cases including two deaths, and it has carried out over 90,000 tests for the virus.
Sylvain Habanabakize, spokesman for a Burundian patients’ rights association, urged the government to avoid “any injustice when applying these measures.”