May 31, 2021

DRC: 32 Parliamentarians Die of COVID-19

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has claimed the lives of 32 members of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) parliament since the start of the pandemic.

The DRC, much like many other African countries, has reported relatively fewer cases and deaths than the rest of the world, but that has not stopped the virus from causing the deaths of a handful of lawmakers and other high-level politicians.

The Congolese Parliament requires its 640 members to wear masks inside its halls, but many ignore this policy as they gather in groups to heckle speakers and engage in robust debates on a frequent basis.

A sluggish vaccination campaign – which started in April, but was halted due to safety concerns over the procured AstraZeneca vaccine – and a lingering reluctance to receive the medication due to fears of adverse side-effects, has resulted in just under 20 000 out of 80 million citizens being vaccinated.

The landlocked central African nation has recorded a total of 31 557 cases so far – of this tally, 782 people have died, and 27 665 have recovered.