Rwanda will effective Sunday, November 28, reinstate the mandatory 24-hour quarantine for all arriving passengers as officials move to control potential entry and spread of the new deadly Covid-19 variant detected in Southern Africa.
The health ministry announced Friday that the government would soon issue additional measures in a bid “to limit the spread of the new variant and protect gains made so far in managing the Covid-19 pandemic and reopening the economy.”
“The health ministry is reinstating the obligatory 24-hour quarantine in designated hotels at own expense for all persons arriving into Rwanda effective Sunday, November 28 , 2021 at noon,” reads the statement in part. It further calls on members of the public, including vaccinated people to strictly observe Covid-19 preventive measures.
Months of the Covid-19 lull that enabled lifting of almost all restrictions on movement, gatherings and near full reopening of economic activities had seen fully vaccinated travellers no longer required to quarantine at hotels on arrival in Rwanda.
A PCR test for all arriving passengers was, however, required.
Arriving and departing passengers at Kigali International airport equally present a negative PCR test taken with 72 hours prior to departure.
With over 3.1 million people fully vaccinated and 5.9 million people jabbed with the first shot as at Friday, November 26, the number of people who got the full doses of Covid-19 vaccine represent 21 percent.
Rwandan government recently extended the mass vaccination campaign to teens under eighteen years in a bid to further accelerate the uptake of the jab.
The country has not detected any case of the new variant to date but officials remain on high alert. The national carrier RwandAir flies to South Africa which is among the countries where the variant was first detected.
Rwanda recorded eight new Covid-19 cases Friday out of 12,065 tests conducted. More than 115 new cases were confirmed in 84,028 tests taken over the last seven days with the positivity rate remaining below one per cent. The country recorded only two Covid-19 linked deaths over the past week.
Health minister Daniel Ngamije said existing diagnostic capacity using PCR testing was up to task to detect the new Covid-19 variant, therefore won’t require infrastructure upgrades.