Rwanda tightens Covid-19 restrictions amid spike

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President Paul Kagame on Monday re-imposed tight restrictions including the suspension of all social gatherings and the adjustment of curfew time from 9pm-4am to 7pm- 4am.

Movements between Kigali and other provinces in the country are also prohibited except for medical reasons and other essential services.

The move aims at curbing rising infections and mitigate the risk of a severe third wave that is already being experienced in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

“Given the recent rise in Covid-19 cases and transmission rates in the community, the Cabinet has reviewed the existing health measures to contain the further spread of the virus.

“The public is reminded of the importance of complying with health measures including physical distancing, wearing face masks, and ensuring hand hygiene. Penalties will be applied for non-compliance…” reads in part a Cabinet communique released on Monday evening.

After devastating shocks and setbacks, Rwanda had started a gradual lifting of restrictions after a second wave of infections led to a three-week lockdown in Kigali in early 2021.

Recently, the country successfully hosted two major sporting events – Tour Du Rwanda and the Basketball Africa League, raising hopes of fully reopening the economy.

However, a recent spike in infections has forced the government to reintroduce restrictions and ramp up Covid-19 testing to mitigate the risk of a severe third wave.

On Monday, Rwanda reported 622 new cases, the highest number of cases in a single day in recent weeks, with the total active cases now at 4,343 and 388 deaths.

The current positivity rate is 11.6%. A total of 31,435 coronavirus cases have been detected from the 1,556,862 tests done. The country has so far vaccinated 390,848 people.

Of concern are imported infections from – Uganda and India which has forced the country to impose a 7 day mandatory quarantine on travellers arriving from both countries effective 15th June.

The government also imposed restrictions on movements in four districts neighbouring the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda to contain the spread of the virus.

Rwanda needs at least 13 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to inoculate its 60% target of the population, about 7.5 million people, by June 2022.


Olajumoke Adeleke/EA

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