Rwanda’s capital Kigali plunged back into lockdown

Tuesday January 19 2021
kigali pic
By Agencies

Kigali. Rwanda’s cabinet on Monday, January 18, imposed another lockdown on City of Kigali and tough restrictions on the rest of the country in a bid to gain a handle on a spike in Covid-19 infections.

Health authorities say the capital accounts for 61 per cent of confirmed cases since New Year's Day.

The city was last in a total lockdown back in April 2020, although targetted travel curbs were imposed on a few suburbs at different times in the second half of last year. 

The city-wide lockdown will last two weeks, the cabinet said in a statement.

“The surge in cases, specifically in the City of Kigali, has necessitated a lockdown. Citizens are urged to significantly reduce social interactions and limit movements to essential services,” reads part of the statement signed by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente.

The virtual cabinet meeting was chaired by President Paul Kagame.

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Officials said the decision will help prevent slow the spread of the deadly virus, thus allowing public health system to remain in control of the situation.

Dr Daniel Ngamije, the health minister, told the national broadcaster, RBA, Monday night that the country was hoping to receive Covid-19 vaccines "as soon as possible", adding that the necessary infrastructure was already in place.

Elsewhere in the country, the cabinet brought forward the start-time for curfew, from 8p.m to 6p.m, through 4a.m, while public transport and inter-district movement is also banned.

However, transportation and delivery of essential goods to and within Kigali is permitted. Supermarkets and other businesses that deal in groceries and other essential products will also remain operational albeit under strict measures.

Further details on the kind of  "essential services" permitted to continue were set to be released by concerned agencies.

Tourist activities were also allowed to remain operational but under strict guidelines.

Rwanda has hitherto recorded 11,259 Covid-19 cases since March.

A total of 146 people had succumbed to the virus as of Monda