An extraordinary cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame via Video Conference on Friday extended the New Coronavirus lockdown which was supposed to end on April 19 for another 11 days to April 30 as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus.
A Cabinet statement signed by the Prime Minister Dr. Edouard Ngirente said the extension was for further containment of the spread of the virus as the country continues to identify, trace, test and isolate new cases.
President Kagame thanked Rwandans for the continued solidarity and for observing measures put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“His Excellency the President commended all partners for continued support and commended the Global and African solidarity in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said in brief.
“The Cabinet noted ongoing measures to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 as well as the strategies to lessen the burden of the most vulnerable groups and called for sustained efforts to this end,” it added.
The Cabinet statement further said that to further contain the outbreak, the meeting extended existing measures until April 30, 2020.
“Unnecessary movements and visits outside the home are not permitted, except for essential services such as healthcare, food shopping, or banking, and for the personnel performing such services,”
“Farming will continue in preparation for the ongoing agricultural season B while observing guidelines from health authorities,” the statement said reinforcing existing measures.
Places of worship will remain closed while Schools and higher education institutions (both public and private) will remain closed and are encouraged to use technology to continue instruction.
The government further said all employees (public and private) shall continue to use technology to work from home, except for those providing essential services.
As it has been, borders will remain closed, except for goods and cargo, as well as returning Rwandan citizens and legal residents, who will be subject to mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated locations.
At the moment though no emergency returning citizens are coming back, having been evacuated previously.
Travel between different cities and districts of the country is still not permitted, except for medical reasons or essential services. Transport of food and essential goods will continue to function.
The Cabinet said shops and markets will remain closed, except those selling food, medicine (pharmacies), hygiene and cleaning products, fuel, and other essential items.
Motos are still not permitted to carry passengers, but may offer delivery services while all bars will remain closed. Restaurants and cafés will continue to only provide take-away service.
Electronic payments and online banking services are still the preferred methods of transactions as banks are considered high risk areas.
As it is Rwandans and residents of Rwanda will be required to remain home until measures are lifted or prolonged.
Experts fear that the pandemic could remain in place at least till later this year if countries don’t act decisively. The virus continues to manifest itself in the region with Tanzania registering quick successive cases, now at 147 while Kenya has 247 cases. Rwanda currently has 143 cases with 5 new cases registered on Friday.