The decision by the Gabon government to ease lockdown measures in the country has brought relief to the vulnerable section of the population.
The measure imposed since April 13, affected the capital Libreville and three bordering communes. It was primarily to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the Central African country.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Julien Nkoghe Bekale announced the relaxing of the measure which effectively allows non-essential businesses like hairdressing salons and garages to reopen for businesses.
There had been protests against the lockdown as people insisted that they could not access basic commodities. Government admitted that situation as part of reasons for easing the measure.
On the streets of the capital, sentiments pointed to relief at the near resumption of normal life despite threat of the virus. Gisele Avomo, a shopkeeper said: “I’ve benefited from nothing. I’m at Belle Vue 2, I signed up for aid, but so far we haven’t been given anything to eat.
“We’re not relieved, nothing at all. If we don’t die from Covid-19, we’ll starve to death in our homes. We’re not relieved.”
“The two-week lockdown was hard. We stayed home, there’s nothing to eat. These measures are good, at least we earn money, it’s better than staying at home,” she added.
Travel within the capital, which had previously been banned between the districts, will resume. But leaving Greater Libreville — the capital and three bordering communes — remains prohibited, the PM further clarified.
“We are approaching the peak of the epidemic that could occur between the end of May and mid-June 2020,” he said.
As COVID-19 cases are still on the rise, schools, places of worship and restaurants will remain closed, and a curfew between 6pm and 6am will be enforced throughout the country. Wearing a mask remains mandatory.