To date, over 30 cases have been recorded in the DRC, with one death, with initial cases linked with arrivals from France and Belgium. Flights have been suspended and schools, bars and restaurants closed.
The mining centre and second city, Lubumbashi in Haut-Katanga, is on a 48 hour lockdown after arrival by air of two infected persons from the capital, to allow contact tracing.
Red Rock also notes that the last confirmed Ebola patient in the country has been released from hospital. A summary of the lessons learnt from this outbreak is on the Médecins sans Frontières website (msf.org).
In South Africa, meanwhile, 554 cases have been identified, but as yet there have been no deaths. Nonetheless, the government has imposed a lock-down, and this has impacted the Tshipi manganese mine, owned by Jupiter Mines Ltd (ASX:JMS), a company in which Red Rock has a significant stake.
And over in Kenya, business is continuing, albeit that the government has instituted several precautionary measures. As such, Red Rock has continued to maintain its camp and deal with business in the normal way.
“For most of the first ten weeks of the year management were travelling overseas in anticipation of the current shutdowns, returning just as airports were being closed,” said Red Rock chairman Andrew Bell.
“The company is therefore up to date on local developments and has had many interactions, now being followed up, with its local counterparts. We are not currently able to visit any of our operations due to travel restrictions. We do not anticipate that this will inhibit our activities in the near-term.”
He also added an interesting comment about past experience in the region.
“We have some confidence in the capability of the governments in the African countries in which we work to handle epidemics of this kind. There are also fewer means of internal travel, and recent experience of handling epidemics. In this pandemic, countries are also learning from each other.”