Rwanda tightens COVID-19 measures as cases surge

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 pedestrian crosses a road in downtown Kigali, Rwanda, on March 22, 2020.PHOTO/East African

Rwanda has extended its evening curfew and implemented a cessation of movement in and out of the western area of Rusizi after a recent surge in cases of COVID-19.

The country was the first to impose strict lockdown measures in the African continent on March 22, with only 19 cases and partially lifted the measures on May 1 when it had officially recorded 225 cases and zero deaths.

However, Rwanda hit a record of 217 cases in one day on Tuesday and has recorded a third of its 3,625 cases in the past 10 days with authorities blaming the spike on complacency and fatigue with social distancing measures.

The government announced late Wednesday that a national curfew would be tightened to 7 pm to 5 am from the current 9 pm to 5 am.

“Because of increasing cases of coronavirus in Kigali City, public transport between Kigali and other districts has also been banned,” read a statement from the government.

All transport is banned in and out of Rusizi where there has been a significant increase in cases.

“Schools which were expected to be reopened in September will also remain closed.”

Other measures such as the closure of bars, wearing of masks in public, limiting of staff in offices and ban on public gatherings will remain in place.

Rwanda has opened up to tourists arriving on international flights, who must present a negative Covid-19 certificate, however, land borders remain closed to foreigners.