Rwanda suspends schools, universities, places of worship over coronavirus concerns

Rwanda flag with two red carnation flowers for honour of veterans or memorial day on light blue blurred natural wood wall. Rwanda glory to the heroes of war concept./Getty Images

Rwanda has announced the suspension of schools, universities and places of worship across the country for two weeks amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Kigali, with a population of more than 1 million (2012), is the capital and largest city of Rwanda. The city is coterminous with the province of Kigali City, which was enlarged in January 2006, as part of local government reorganisation in the country. Kigali’s city limits covers the whole province, it is consolidated.

The suspension of places of worship will start from Sunday, with prayers to be conducted from home, while schools and higher education institutions will close on Monday, said the statement.

Following the ministry’s assessment, the new measures will be implemented to further strengthen the country’s ability to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, it said.

Employees should be allowed to work from home in consultation with their employers, while large gatherings such as weddings and sports events will be postponed, said the statement.

Businesses and restaurants will continue to operate, but adequate distance between customers must be maintained at least one meter, said the statement, adding unnecessary movements should be avoided and public transport must not be overcrowded.

According to the statement, any person with typical symptoms of COVID-19 should stay at home and call the toll-free number 114 or consult community workers for further guidance.

The ministry highly emphasized maintenance of maximum personal hygiene by frequent hand washing with soap, water and alcohol-based sanitizer, and avoiding unnecessary physical contact with others.

Earlier in the day, Rwanda confirmed an imported case, an Indian national who arrived in the country on Sunday without symptoms before testing positive on Friday.

The Education Ministry has ordered all educational institutions in the country to suspend student assemblies, asking schools to ensure that there are hand-washing facilities across campuses and dormitories.

On Monday, Rwanda announced an indefinite ban on large gatherings during sports activities, while the capital city of Kigali had previously canceled all music concerts.

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