The Rwandan Government has questioned a controversial decision by the United Kingdom to put Rwanda on the list of countries people traveling from there are not allowed to enter UK borders as part of measures to contain the New Coronavirus.
The announcement yesterday that non-UK citizens/residents travelling from Rwanda and 32 other countries are no longer able to enter the UK, despite majority of those countries doing better than the European nation in terms of containing the COVID-19.
“The Government of Rwanda has taken note of the UK Government announcement banning visitors who have been in, or transited through, Rwanda,”
“Rwanda’s overall response to COVID-19 including testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting has been consistent, transparent and corroborated by third party entities,” the Government of Rwanda said in a Statement on Saturday.
The government said Rwanda is one of the few countries that require a PCR COVID-19 test for all departing passengers and all those in transit.
“Notably, Rwanda did not join in the widespread bans on travellers from UK in December 2020 over the variant discovered in parts of the UK,”
“Considering the list of countries in the region affected and not affected by the ban, the sparse information communicated to Rwanda does not stand up to scientific scrutiny,”
“The Government of Rwanda looks forward to receiving clarifications on the motivations behind this arbitrary decision of the UK Government,” the statement adds.
The decision has also been criticized in the UK, considering that Britain is not doing better than most of the countries on the list.
According to The Telegraph, a U.K newspaper, countries on UK travel ‘red list’ have ten times lower Covid case rates than Britain
The seven-day case rate in the UK is 294.7 per 100,000 people, while for Rwanda it is just 18.2 Just two of the 33 countries on the UK’s travel “red list” have a higher COVID-19 case rate than the UK.
Analysts say chances of an infected traveller coming from most of the countries on the list like Rwanda are very limited considering that all passengers are required to have a recent negative PCR test before they are allowed to travel out at Kigali International Airport (KIA).
Several other countries on the red list have even much lower case rates than the UK, such as Mozambique which currently has a rate of 17.9 per 100,000 while Angola has 1.5. Other countries on the list include Mauritius, DR Congo and Namibia.
Even South Africa, which has seen infections spike in recent weeks, has a case rate three times smaller than the UK. Only Portugal (884.9 per 100,000) and the Seychelles (394.9) have higher rates than Britain, according to The Telegraph.
Though the testing in some of the countries on the list is questionable, critics say there was no thought put in making the decision, considering that the UK’s management of the virus has been under scrutiny.