Rwandan police to strictly enforce COVID-19 lockdown

A pedestrian crosses a road in downtown Kigali, Rwanda, on March 22, 2020. Rwanda has announced stricter measures to be implemented for the next two weeks in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus,PHOTO/East African
A trader wearing a protective mask weighs grains at the Kimironko market as shoppers stock up on essential items that have been price fixed in order to prevent exploitative prices in Kigali, Rwanda March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Maggie Andresen

Rwandan police on Thursday said that it will strictly enforce the extended COVID-19 lockdown measures as the health ministry reported a total of 84 cases after two more people tested positive for the virus.

“Unnecessary movements, sporting activities outside homes, loitering along the roads, many people driving in one vehicle to the market are all not permitted. Whoever breaches any of those will be arrested, imprisoned and fined. Measures remain the same; stay at home,” police spokesperson John Bosco Kabera said on national Rwanda television.

Kabera condemned people for lying to police in order to obtain smooth passage, noting that measures have been put in place to identify liars for possible arrest.

He also warned citizens against abuse of the toll-free hotline set by the health ministry for people to report relevant symptoms of the disease.

Whoever call the toll-free line 114 again to talk about irrelevant issues will be arrested, Kabera said.

The latest patients identified on Thursday are linked to travel to multiple countries, the health ministry said in a statement.

Rwandan Cabinet on Wednesday extended the COVID-19 lockdown for two more weeks until April 19 to further contain the spread of the virus.

The lockdown bans unnecessary movements and visits outside home and orders the closure of borders, except for essential services such as healthcare, food shopping or banking.