Over 65 Rwandans arrested for violating COVID-19 lockdown

A pedestrian crosses a road in downtown Kigali, Rwanda, on March 22, 2020.PHOTO/East African
Several hand washing units have been installed in the main commuter parks in Rwanda’s capital Kigali. Rwanda on March 16, 2020 confirmed more coronavirus cases, bringing the tally of infections in the country to seven. PHOTO | East African

A group of more than 65 people in western Rwanda were arrested on Saturday for violating the COVID-19 lock-down as they gathered for a religious prayer, the local mayor said.

Vestine Mukarutesi, mayor of Karongi District in Western Province, said that the group, who belong to a breakaway religious faction and are not members of a church, were arrested at a member’s home while gathering for prayers.

She said the Rwandan government had ordered the closure of churches as part of social distancing measures to curb the spread of the novel corona-virus.

These people, who had refused to disperse peacefully, were arrested and taken to a local rehabilitation center for admonition before being released, she told Xinhua.

On Friday, the Rwandan Health Ministry reported 13 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total tally to 102.

In March, the Rwandan government imposed a lock-down with restrictions on movements and the closure of borders, public places of worship and education facilities after the first confirmed case was reported.

The lock-down was extended by two more weeks to April 19 on Wednesday last week.

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