Rwanda introduces tough COVID-19 measures for travelers

NAIROBI, KENYA - 2020/07/31: Passengers who had arrived into the country from Kigali, Rwanda queue as they await to present their COVID-19 certificates to health officials at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Kenya Airways has resumed international flights following the easing of travel restrictions by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The flights had been stopped during the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak in the country. (Photo by Dennis Sigwe/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Travelers within and arriving in Rwanda will from January 10 be subject to more stringent health protocols according to a communique issued by the government in the wake of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the East African country.

Passengers arriving at and leaving the Kigali International Airport will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken 72 hours before their departure.

FILE PHOTO: Passengers who had arrived from Kigali, Rwanda, queue as they await to present their COVID-19 certificates to health officials at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. /Getty Images

Meanwhile, passengers arriving into the country will have to quarantine for a day at a given hotel at their own cost. Additionally, they will have to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test following their arrival and on the third day of their arrival at a predetermined testing site.

The government also issued strict guidelines governing the public transport sector. While the sector was allowed to continue operating at full capacity, bus operators were ordered to ensure that all passengers are vaccinated.

Operators and passengers of motorbike and bicycle taxies were also ordered to ensure they are vaccinated with unspecified penalties as punishment for non-compliance.

Other rules directed that all physical conferences and meetings be held at 50 percent capacity but all persons attending them must be fully vaccinated and give a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken with a day of the meeting.

Restaurants, whose clients must be fully vaccinated, are allowed to continue operating at a 50 percent occupancy limit while those with outdoor seating will be allowed to operate at 75 percent capacity.

Bars, which also must allow fully vaccinated clients, are allowed to operate at 50 percent occupancy limit and must close by 8pm (local time). Operations of night clubs and live band entertainment performances were also suspended.

The government also directed public offices to function with essential staff at a maximum of 15 percent while private offices were directed to continue working with a maximum workforce of 30 percent. Business owners were also ordered to ensure that employees are fully vaccinated.

Furthermore, a nighttime curfew will be in force between 10pm and 4am and all businesses must close by 9pm.

Additionally, the capacity of places of worship in the capital Kigali was capped at 30 percent while those in other parts of the country were capped at 50 percent. The attendance of people at weddings was limited to 40 people while ceremonies conducted in homes was limited to 20 people with all guests needing to be fully vaccinated.

Despite the surge in cases, schools will still reopen in line with the school calendar and individual and non-contact sports remain permitted.

According to the notice, measures will be reviewed in 14 days after a health assessment.