Laxity and complacency on observing COVID-19 preventive measures are reasons for the recent spike of infections in the country, Rwandan Minister of Health Daniel Ngamije said on Thursday.
Health directives must be strictly implemented or else more people will be infected, Ngamije warned citizens during a news program on national broadcaster Rwanda Television.
He emphasized that physical social distancing, frequent hands washing with soap or alcohol-based sanitizers, wearing face masks and limited movements are mandatory, adding that there is no compromise of the authorities in this regard.
“Within the next 30 days, if we don’t become strict in implementing these measures, we are at risk of losing about 25 people to COVID-19 in our country,” said Ngamije, adding that presently seven COVID-19 patients are critically ill.
Anastase Shyaka, Minister of Local Government, said in the same news program that strict action will be taken against those who show negligence on the preventive measures, which would lead to severe penalties including the closure of non-compliant businesses.
As of Wednesday, the central African nation reported 3,625 cases in total, with 1,810 recoveries and 15 deaths.
The ministers’ comments came after the Rwandan government tightened preventive measures against the COVID-19 on Wednesday, following an “unprecedented increase” of COVID-19 cases, related deaths and community transmission, particularly in the capital city Kigali.
According to a cabinet communique, the curfew hours is extended from previous 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to current 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., and public transport between Kigali and the rest of the country is prohibited.
The cabinet also ordered public offices to keep not exceeding 30 percent of staff while private businesses to operate with not exceeding 50 percent of staff.
Malls and markets in Kigali were asked to operate at 50 percent of capacity with vendors working on a rotational basis.
The measures will be reviewed after 15 days upon a health assessment.