Rwanda extends lockdown as coronavirus cases jump to 82

Thursday April 02 2020

A newspaper seller wears a mask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 Coronavirus on a empty street in Kigali on March 22, 2020 after the government suspended all unnecessary movements for two weeks to curb the spread of the virus. PHOTO | SIMON WOHLFAHRT | AFP


Rwandan President Paul Kagame has extended the countrywide lockdown for 15 more days to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The lockdown, to remain until April 19, comes as Rwanda on Wednesday reported 82 coronavirus cases, the highest number of infections confirmed in the region.

The decision was made during an extraordinary Cabinet meeting via video-conference chaired by President Kagame on Wednesday.

Unnecessary movements and visits outside the home are still not permitted, except for essential services such as healthcare, food shopping, or banking.

Only cargo trucks are allowed to operate in the country.

Schools, places of social gathering, public transport and borders remain closed.


Returning Rwandans and visitors are subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Authorities have warned of stringent measures to ensure that the lockdown is observed even as people have been seen walking in the streets of Kigali and other towns across the country.

Last Friday, police arrested 14 people for violating lockdown in Rusizi and Ngororero districts in the Western Province.

Many poor families, a majority in the informal sector are staring at hunger.

A government programme aiming to provide food to 20,000 vulnerable people kicked off last Saturday.

The government has also warned traders against raising the prices of foodstuffs and other essential commodities, say they face heavy fines.

108 businesses and traders caught selling food at higher prices have already been fined, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The spread of coronavirus has also disrupted regional trade, with Rwanda informing Uganda and Kenya that it will no longer allow cargo trucks to cross through the country to Burundi.

Rwanda’s decision, according to a statement, was forced by Burundi’s move to block the entry of cargo trucks from the country–with about 20 heavy goods vehicles stuck at the border for days over the last week.

Majority of the coronavirus cases reported in Rwanda are imported involving people who travelled from Dubai, UAE – about half of them. Others are mainly from European capitals, Africa and the United States.

The Ministry of Health said that majority of the coronavirus patients are asymptomatic and that “no patient is in critical condition”.

“All patients are under treatment in stable conditions and isolation and in designated health facilities.”