COVID-19: Rwanda extends lockdown by 15 days

President Kagame, Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente (right) and Foreign Affairs minister Dr Vincent Biruta (background) at Village Urugwiro in the capital Kigali during the virtual cabinet meeting on Wednesday. / Village Urugwiro.

Rwanda has ordered a 15-day extension of the current lockdown.

The decision to extend the current two-week lockdown initially declared on March 21 to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus was reached during an extraordinary cabinet meeting held via video link on Wednesday.


The initial two-week lockdown was meant to end over the weekend.


As has been the case over the last week and a half, movements outside one’s home are not permitted “except for essential services such as healthcare, food shopping, or banking, and for the personnel performing such services”, according to a statement signed by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente.


President Kagame on Wednesday chaired the extraordinary virtual cabinet meeting, which extended the current two-week COVID-19 lockdown by 15 days. Village Urugwiro.

“Farming will continue preparation for the ongoing agricultural season B while observing the guidelines from health authorities,” the communique, published late Wednesday, reads in part.

It adds: “Schools and higher education institutions (both public and private) will remain closed and are encouraged to use technology to continue instruction.”

Cabinet urged employees of both public and private institutions to continue using technology to work from home with the exception of those working in essential services.

Borders are to remain closed except for goods and cargo as well as returning citizens and legal residents who will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated locations, according to the statement.

“Travel between cities and districts in the country is not permitted except for medical reasons or essential services,” it adds. “Transport of food and essential goods will continue to function.”

Shops and markets selling foodstuff, hygiene and cleaning products, as well as other essential items will also remain open as has been the case over the last few days.

Also to remain open are healthcare facilities, pharmacies, and petrol stations.

Motorcycles will not be allowed to carry passengers but can serve in the delivery services while bars will also remain closed.

Restaurants and cafes will continue to operate providing only takeaway services.

Cabinet also discussed measures to mitigate the economic impact of COVID19 as well as ways to provide for the most vulnerable community members.

The Minister for ICT and Innovation Paula Ingabire “briefed cabinet about technology tools being used in the fight against COVID-19 and available e-learning tools for education.”

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rwanda rose to 82 after seven new cases were announced on Wednesday. The country has not recorded any novel coronavirus death.

Globally, more than 900,000 people have so far tested positive with the deadly virus.

Up to 45,000 people have lost their lives while some 200,000 have recovered with a majority of those still on treatment (over 640,000) cited as mild cases.

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