Coronavirus: Schools, religious services halted

The Ministry of Health on Saturday, March 14 issued a statement stipulating that schools, places of worship, and large gatherings among others are temporarily suspended for an initial period of two weeks effective Sunday, 15 March.

According to the ministry, the move is in line with further strengthening the country’s ability to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, after Rwanda confirmed its first case of the pandemic on Saturday.

 

The disease was found in an Indian citizen who arrived in the country on March 8 from Mumbai, India. The Ministry of Health said that the patient was isolated from other patients after testing positive.

 

This case is so far the second in East Africa after Kenya recorded the first case on Friday.

“Places of worship are closed from Sunday 15 March 2020, with prayers to be conducted from home,” says the statement, adding that: “Schools and higher education institutions (both public and private) shall close on Monday 16 March 2020.”

Concerning the temporary closure of schools, the Ministry of Education said in a tweet that "Boarding secondary schools should wait for guidelines that will be followed during the process of sending students home," adding that: "Guidelines will be communicated by the Ministry soon."

The communique also noted that: “Large gatherings such as weddings and sporting events are to be postponed, and the number of people attending burial ceremonies should be minimized.”

However, businesses and restaurants continue to operate, but adequate distance of at least one meter between customers must be maintained.

The ministry also among others highlighted that: “Employees should be permitted to work from home wherever possible, in consultation with their employers.”

No need to panic”

In a tweet thread on Saturday, President Paul Kagame spoke about the situation, calling for focus, not panic, and adherence to the preventive measures that have been issued by the Ministry of Health.

Some of precautionary measures that every Rwandan should follow so as to help tackle the pandemic include; avoiding unnecessary travels to countries with COVID-19, avoiding handshakes and hugs and frequently washing hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based sanitizer.

The measures also include avoiding touching the nose, eyes or mouth before washing hands.

Citizens can also call 114- Rwanda Biomedical Center’s toll-free number, for further guidance.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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