A Cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Monday maintained in place majority of the guidelines against the New Coronavirus, with a few adjustments made despite high expectations that more sections of the economy would be allowed to reopen.
Bar owners, spas, swimming pools, indoor gyms and betting houses will have to wait a little longer before they could reopen as the cabinet maintained that earlier measures set out 15 days ago will remain in force except for a couple of adjustments in public transport and on meetings.
“The Cabinet reviewed measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. All existing measures and guidelines shall remain in force with the exception the following changes that will take effect immediately,”
“Movements are prohibited from 10 p.m. To 4 a.m. Public transportation will continue with buses operating at full capacity for seated passengers and 50% for standing passengers. RURA will provide detailed guidelines,” a cabinet statement issued by the Prime Minister Dr. Edouard Ngirente reads.
Initially, curfew time, as set by the previous meeting, was from 10pm to 5am. The new time means you can wake up at 4am and start your day earlier.
Cabinet also confirmed that participants in meetings and conferences will not require proof of COVID-19 tests. However, event organizers must comply with health guidelines and must not exceed 50% of the venue capacity,”
The cabinet once again said these measures will be reviewed after 15 days upon a health assessment of the COVID-19 situation.
“Citizens are reminded of the critical importance of complying with health measures including physical distancing, wearing face masks and hand hygiene. Penalties will be applied for non-compliance,” the statement said.
There was a lot of anticipation on the outcomes of the Monday meeting, with many on social media hoping for further easing up of restrictions, with the declining new infections.
However, the Ministry of Health has warned that the declining numbers do not suggest the COVID-19 threat has gone away, calling for more vigilance to avoid a possible second wave.
Bars, nightclubs, concerts, public gatherings as well as places where many people converge are still considered possible hotspots for quick transmission of the virus.
As of Monday, COVID-19 cases reached 4,905, with 9 new additional cases recorded out of 2,149 tests. The country recorded another death, taking the total number of deaths to 32. The victim is a 51-year old man who succumbed to the virus according to the Ministry of Health.
Among other decisions, the cabinet approved the Draft Law Governing Land in Rwanda and the draft law approving ratification of the construction of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), adopted in Dakar, Senegal, December 16, 2009.
The cabinet also approved the draft law approving the accession of Rwanda to the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear accident or radiological emergency adopted in Vienna on September 26, 1986.
The Cabinet also approved the draft law approving the ratification of 11 bilateral air service agreements (BASAs) signed between the Government of Rwanda and 11 countries including the Republic of Chile, Dominican Republic, Republic of Finland, Jamaica, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, State of Kuwait, Malaysia, Republic of Mauritius, United Republic of Tanzania, United Arab Emirates and Republic of Zimbabwe.
The cabinet approved Rwanda’s report on the 3rd Universal Periodic Review (UPR) as well as a policy on the issuance of licenses to successful applicants to undertake mining and quarrying operations In Rwanda.
Also, in the offing is the National Pharmaceutical Product Pricing and Containment policy as well as the dual clinical practice policy for health professionals and ministerial instructions.
The cabinet approved the Prime Minister’s order determining the institution in charge of assessment and collection of taxes and fees on behalf of the decentralized entities.