Burundi has ordered the country’s top World Health Organization (WHO) representative and three other experts coordinating the coronavirus response to leave the country. The expelled officials include the WHO’s representative Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, the country’s coronavirus coordinator Dr Jean Pierre Mulunda Nkata, communicable diseases head Dr Ruhana Mirindi Bisimwa, and a laboratory expert in the testing for COVID-19, Professor Daniel Tarzy. In a letter dated May 12 and addressed to WHO’s Africa headquarters, the foreign ministry said the four officials “are declared persona non grata and as such, must leave the territory of Burundi” by Friday. The letter does not provide a reason for the decision. Diplomatic and administrative sources told AFP that the foreign ministry aborted a similar attempt to expel the same four officials a month ago. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has described the move as “unfortunate” at a time when greater cooperation was needed to tackle the virus on the continent. The announcement comes just days before Burundians go to the polls on May 20 to choose a new president, parliamentarians and local officials.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA