Rwanda bans travel to Kigali as coronavirus deaths increase

Tuesday January 05 2021

Workers from the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) screen passengers at a bus station in Kigali on March 22, 2020. Rwanda has suspended travel to and from its capital over increased Covid cases, effective January 5, 2021. PHOTO | AFP


Rwanda has restricted the movement of people between its capital city Kigali and other districts in its latest bid to curb surging coronavirus infections and deaths.

Effective, Tuesday, January 5, public and private transport to and from its capital Kigali is suspended for 15 days after which the government will issue new guidelines.

Travel to Kigali and between districts will only be permitted for medical reasons and essential services, while vehicles transporting goods will have “no more than two people on board,” a statement released last night by the Prime Minister’s office says.

Rwanda has registered 105 deaths due to the coronavirus, half of them being recorded in December.

As of Monday, the country had registered up to 8,848 coronavirus positive cases out of 741,036 tests countrywide. Up to 6,916 people recovered.

Positive cases have also significantly increased with the rate of positivity skyrocketing from 0.5 percent on November 1st to 7.6 percent on Monday yesterday.


“The public needs to significantly reduce social interactions and limit movements for essential services,” the statement says.

Effective Tuesday, all businesses, including shops, markets and malls, will close operations at 6pm while movement is still prohibited from 8pm to 4am.

The new measures were adopted by a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente on Monday evening.

The measures are aimed at curbing the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more people in December than all the months combined since the first case was reported in March.

Tourists will not be affected by the new measures and can travel across the country as long as they have certificates showing they tested negative for Covid-19.

“In order to contain further spread of the virus, all citizens are reminded of the critical importance of complying with health measures including physical distancing, wearing face masks, and hand hygiene. Penalties will be applied for non-compliance.”

Since December, social gatherings and events including religious weddings ceremonies, receptions, meetings, and conferences have been prohibited.

Rwanda says it is in touch with two vaccine manufacturers—AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish pharmaceutical, and Moderna, an American biotechnology firm—to purchase doses of their vaccines within the first quarter of 2021.

Rwanda Police said that up to 57,000 people were arrested for violating measures the week before and after Christmas, while close to 1,000 vehicles were impounded for violating curfew.