Rwanda partially lifts coronavirus lockdown
Friday May 01 2020
Rwanda has partially lifted the national lockdown, allowing businesses to operate from Monday, May 4.
The new measures will be reviewed after 15 days upon a health assessment, the Prime Minister’s Office announced Friday.
The decision was reached by a cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Thursday.
Rwanda had ordered a lockdown on March 22 to prevent spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
During the lockdown, the country had restricted movement of people except for essential services such as healthcare, food shopping and banking.
But from Monday, the country will allow free movement from 5am to 8pm. Residents will need permission for movement beyond 8pm.
However, meetings in public spaces and mass gatherings are prohibited.
“Public and private businesses will resume with essential staff while other employees continue working from home. Markets will open for essential vendors not exceeding 50 per cent of registered traders. Manufacturing and construction sectors will open with essential workers,” the statement says.
“Hotels and restaurants will operate but close by 7pm. Individual sporting activity in open spaces is permitted, however, sports facilities shall remain closed. Public and private transport will resume in the same province. Bus operators will ensure passengers maintain social distancing and only passengers with masks will be allowed on board.”
Funeral gatherings will also not exceed 30 people, up from 10 people allowed during the lockdown.
Bars, churches, gyms and recreational centres will remain closed.
Despite the easing of lockdown rules, schools will remain closed until September, and transportation between Kigali and other provinces is still not permitted.
Rwanda’s borders will also remain closed except for transit and for returning citizens, who will be subjected to a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
Rwanda is enforcing new stringent cargo measures at its Rusumo Border in a bid to stop the spread of the virus, as the number of coronavirus cases spike in Tanzania.
Under the new measures, trucks and cargo are disinfected at the border and handed over to a Rwandan truck driver to drive them into mainland Rwanda.
Rwanda on Thursday reported 18 new coronavirus cases – including truck drivers and their contacts – bringing the total to 243, including 104 recoveries.
The country has conducted close to 30,000 tests and has begun mass testing and countrywide screening for coronavirus.