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Burundi Poll Campaigns in Full Swing Despite Virus Outbreak

Presidential election campaign and legislative seats have kicked off in Burundi ahead of the May 20 general elections.

This puts the country at risk of suffering a spike in new COVID-19 infections from close contact at the massive political rallies.

CNDD-FDD, Burundi’s ruling party kicked off its campaigns in the nation’s new political capital Gitega on April 27 while the oppositions leader Agathon Rwasa started his campaigns in his native home-town of Ngozi.

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Outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza introduced the CNDD-FDD presidential candidate Eavriste  Ndayishimiye to thousands of supporters describing him as a “lucky man.”

“We from the CNDD-FDD named the term from 2015 to 2020 God’s term because we went through many challenges and overcame them,” said President Nkurunziza.

Nkurunziza’s decision to run for another term in office in 2015 sparked violence across Burundi which saw hundreds lose their lives while thousands fled to neighbouring countries.

The ruling party’s leader Mr. Ndayishimiye vowed to unite Burundians and end ethnic tensions that have crippled the country for decades.

However, the close proximity of people at political rallies has sparked concerns that coronavirus infections could spike in the country.

The World Health Organization has advised against mass gatherings such as those in political rallies.

The landlocked country has closed its borders to try and stop spread of the virus, only letting in cargo trucks.

Residents have also been advised to wash their hands frequently and avoid handshakes, but life is largely carrying on as normal.

The country has 11 reported cases and one death so far, even as global figures soared to nearly 3.3 million infections and more than 234,000 deaths as at May 1.

Four of the positive cases have fully recovered.

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Written by How Africa

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