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Top Congolese Opposition Member Dies of COVID-19

By VOA News June 14, 2020

A major Congolese politician and leading opposition member has died of COVID-19.

DRC media reports the family of Pierre Lumbi announced his death in Kinshasa Sunday. His exact age is unknown.

Lumbi was opposition leader Martin Fayulu's campaign manager in his unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2018.

"Very saddened by the death of Senator P. Lumbi," Fayulu tweeted.

The Deputy Africa Director at Human Rights Watch, Ida Sawyer, tweeted that she is also "very sad" to hear about Lumbi's death. "I have fond memories of many engaging conversations with him over the years. Condolences to his family and friends."

Also Sunday, Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo said the country's health minister has the coronavirus. He said Kwaku Agyeman Manu is in stable condition and wished the "hardworking minister for health, a speedy recovery from the virus, which he contracted in the line of duty."

Akufo-Addo said high school and university seniors will be allowed to resume classes Monday. Ghana has among the most COVID-19 cases in West Africa, but one of the lowest death rates because of what experts say has been extensive testing.

In hard-hit Colombia, the number of COVID-19 cases climbed past the 50,000 mark, the health ministry said Sunday.

Despite the relatively high number of cases, the nationwide lockdown is expected to be lifted on July 1. Colombia has taken a huge economic hit from the coronavirus with unemployment topping 23%. Its economy is forecast to shrink 5.5% this year.

French President Emmanuel Macron told the nation Sunday that the coronavirus pandemic has taught him what he says is the need for more economic independence.

Macron said the virus exposed what he described as the "flaws and fragility" of French reliance on Europe and other foreign markets to supply the nation.

"The only answer is to build a new, stronger economic model, to work and produce more, so as not to rely on others," Macron said.

With the French economy expected to contract as much as 11% this year, Macron said he will come up with a blueprint for more economic independence by next month.

Parisian restaurants and the city's iconic sidewalk cafes will be allowed to full reopen Monday in time for France to lift border restrictions for tourists from the European Union.

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