About 150,000 families in the Rwandan capital city Kigali have received welfare support from the government since Jan. 18 when a COVID-19 lockdown came into force, an official said on Sunday.

The lockdown, which was only imposed in Kigali, is scheduled to be replaced with a curfew and other restrictions since Monday.

Up to 3,500 tons of assorted foodstuffs were distributed and benefited roughly 500,000 people, said Anastase Shyaka, a minister of Local Government, during a talk show about the status of the COVID-19 pandemic on national broadcaster Rwanda Television.

The minister warned COVID-19 patients treated from home against violating isolation measures after the lockdown to be eased on Monday.

The lockdown in Kigali has led to reduction in transmission of the virus and eased pressure on health personnel, Tharcisse Mpunga, state minister in charge of Primary Healthcare, said in the same talk show.

Daily COVID-19 caseload in Kigali has dropped from an average of around 200 before the lockdown to 50-60 patients currently, he said.

Private businesses can resume with essential staff at no more than 30 percent from Monday, while markets and malls will open for essential vendors with not exceeding 50 percent.

However, public employees, except those providing essential services, will still work from home, and movements between Kigali and other provinces will continue being prohibited, except essential services and travels. All schools and universities will remain closed.

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