CORONAVIRUS: Rwanda introduces new curfew

Rwanda on Tuesday banned transport in and out of the capital Kigali and extended an evening curfew for another three weeks amid a deadly second wave of the coronavirus.

Rwanda, which in March last year was one of the first countries in Africa to impose strict lockdowns, has registered 105 deaths from Covid, half of them recorded in December alone.

On Monday evening the prime minister’s office released a statement ordering the new measures, effective Tuesday and for the next 15 days.

All public and private transport in and out of Kigali, and between different districts has been banned.

An 8:00pm-4:00am curfew has been extended and all businesses ordered to close at 6:00pm.

“Travel will only be permitted for medical reasons and essential services. Additionally, vehicles transporting goods will continue to function with no more than two people on board,” said the statement.

Tourism — a key foreign exchange earner — will be allowed to continue, with local and foreign tourists requiring a negative Covid-19 test to move around the country.

Foreign tourists are already required to present a negative test to enter the country, and take another on arrival, with a mandatory 24-hour quarantine while waiting for the results.

Rwanda’s rate of positivity has increased from 0.5 percent at the start of November to 7.6 percent on Monday, with a total of 8,848 infections.

“The public needs to significantly reduce social interactions and limit movements for essential services,” the statement said.

Since early December, all social gatherings and events including religious weddings ceremonies, receptions, meetings and conferences have been prohibited.

Bars and nightclubs have been shut since March 2020.

Rwanda’s government says it is in touch with two vaccine manufacturers — AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish pharmaceutical company, and American biotechnology firm Moderna — to purchase doses for its most vulnerable.

Rwanda police say up to 57,000 people were arrested for violating measures the week before and after Christmas, while close to a thousand vehicles were impounded for curfew violation.


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