Rwanda eases coronavirus restrictions

Tuesday March 16 2021
Rwanda Covid-19 vaccine.

Community Health Workers lining up to receive Covid-19 vaccine at Kirehe Health Center, Eastern Province. PHOTO | COURTESY | RWANDA BROADCASTING AGENCY

By Ange Iliza

Rwanda has eased coronavirus restrictions with movement between Kigali and the majority of the country now permitted, following a significant drop in new infections.

However, movement to and between the three districts of Gisagara, Bugesera and Nyanza, which still have high number of Covid-19 infections, remain restricted.

On January 19, the government imposed a temporary lockdown after the country experienced a surge in infections.

A Cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Monday revised curfew hours which will now begin at 9pm and end at 4am, a move that will allow businesses to operate until 8pm. Previously, curfew hours began at 8pm and businesses were not allowed to operate past 6pm.

Restaurants are now allowed to operate with a maximum 30 per cent of their occupancy and hotels will be allowed to host physical meetings not exceeding 30 per cent of the venue’s capacity. Covid-19 tests will be mandatory for meetings of more than 20 people.  Places of worship will resume services with no more than 30 per cent of their capacity.

The measures will be reviewed after 2 weeks upon a health assessment, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said.      


Other public gatherings, including marriage ceremonies and funerals, were allowed to resume with only a limited number of people. But wedding receptions are prohibited.

Arriving and departing passengers at Kigali International Airport shall present Covid-19 PCR test taken within 2 hours prior to departure.

The review of Covid-19 measures comes two weeks after the country rolled out its Covid-19 vaccination.

High-risk groups and frontline workers have received their first doses of the vaccines. They include healthcare workers, traders and drivers, elderly people above 65 year of age, people living with underlying health condition, teachers, journalists, sports and religious personnel.

As of Monday, the country had 1,385 active cases, a positivity rate of 4.1 per cent with at least 314,015 people vaccinated. The country plans to inoculate 30 percent of its 12.6 million population this year, and 60 percent by the end of 2022.