Rwanda announces lockdown to contain COVID-19

A truck crosses from Rwanda into Tanzania at Rusumo Border. (File)
A truck crosses from Rwanda into Tanzania at Rusumo Border. (File)

Rwanda on Saturday announced that stricter measures would be implemented for the next two weeks in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19, banning unnecessary movements of residents and ordering border closure.

“Unnecessary movements and visits outside the home are not permitted except for essential services such as healthcare, food shopping or banking and for the personnel performing such services,” a statement by the prime minister’s office said.Borders are closed except for goods and cargo as well as returning Rwandan citizens and legal residents who will be subject to mandatory 14 days quarantine at designated locations, it added.

It also directed all employees both public and private to work from home except for those providing essential services. It called for electronic payments and online banking services to be used whenever possible rather than people visiting banks or ATMs. In the new measures, travel between different cities and districts of the country is banned except for medical reasons or essential services.

Transport of food and essential services will continue to function. Besides bars, the directive banned operation of shops and markets except those selling food, medicine, fuel, cleaning products and other essential services. For eateries, the statement indicated that restaurants may only sell takeaway.

The stricter measures were taken in observation of the global trend of COVID-19 and consideration of the experiences of other countries, according to the statement.Rwanda on Friday reported six new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total confirmed cases to 17, said the ministry of health in a statement.

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