Rwanda warns of another total lockdown if people continue to flout COVID-19 preventive measures

Elderly Rwandans queueing for the COVID-19 vaccine. Source: Twitter, Rwanda Ministry of Health.
Elderly Rwandans queueing for the COVID-19 vaccine. Source: Twitter, Rwanda Ministry of Health.

Rwandan Health Minister Daniel Ngamije on Tuesday warned that a second nationwide total lockdown would be reimposed if people continue to contravene preventive measures put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“We have recorded an unprecedented increase in COVID-19 infections and transmission rates from June 8 up to today. The spike in infections indicates that people have become complacent on COVID-19 preventive measures,” said Ngamije during a live talk show about the latest anti-COVID-19 measures announced on Monday.

The minister attributed the surge to complacency by citizens and persistent violation of COVID-19 preventive measures.

“If people continue to ignore rules on social distancing, wearing face masks, and washing hands and other anti-COVID-19 preventive guidelines, the government will be forced to reinstate the second nationwide total lockdown to curb the spread of the virus,” he said.

He pointed out that when people saw the arrival of vaccines and the ongoing vaccination exercise, they became complacent on COVID-19 preventive measures by holding all kinds of celebrations such as birthday parties, weddings and other social interactions.

Ngamije appealed to all people to adhere to the COVID-19 preventive measures, wearing a face mask, frequent hand washing, and avoiding unnecessary movements to crowded places and social gatherings, as the country is waiting for more vaccines.

The small central African country expects to secure 4.5 million more vaccine doses in the coming months, he said.

Rwandan Health Ministry on Monday reported 622 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, the highest daily increase since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country on March 14, 2020.

The government has announced that movements between the capital city Kigali and the rest of the country will be prohibited from Wednesday except for essential services and goods transportation, as a response to the recent rise of COVID-19 infections.

Movements between nationwide districts will also be cut off, and the curfew hours will be extended by two more hours, starting from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.

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