Police has said that it has been difficult for some people to continue observing COVID-19 preventive measures during the festive season that started with the ongoing Christmas period.
CP Jean Bosco Kabera, the National Police Spokesperson while appearing at KT Radio in a talkshow sponsored by Mastercard Foundation – December 27, said that an estimate 13,000 people were arrested in a span of three days.
The talk show which revolved around the conduct of the general public in regard to COVID-19 during the end of year festive season also featured lawyer Salim Steven Gatali while Ines Nyinawumuntu was the host.
Asked how generally citizens abided by COVID-19 measures announced by cabinet ahead of the festive season, Kabera said that it has been hard to enforce the measures as citizens in many cases were found acting outside the restrictions.
“It has been hard for many citizens to prevent COVID-19 in some places. Some people broke the regulations especially not putting masks, going home beyond curfew time, visiting COVID-19 patients among others,” Kabera said.
On Christmas eve alone, over 5,000 people were arrested while on Christmas, police arrested 4,600 people. The rest were arrested on boxing day.
These arrest, Kabera said were as a result of public information and community policing initiatives from responsible citizens.
“We managed to do this thanks to information we got from people because we cannot be in every place,” Kabera said.
Kabera was responding to an issue raised by a listener who alleged that local leaders are bribed to over up incidents where citizens are involved in illegal house parties.
The official argued that citizens should understand the importance of their security during the pandemic. For example, he advised, in case of a house party they should conduct themselves in a way that does not put them under risk.
Everyone, he said, should only join their colleagues for a party if only they have tested negative for COVID-19.
“If you are having a party, at least uphold the requirements of preventing the pandemic,” Kabera said.
Gatari, said that the rights of one person, the selfishness attitude of one person, should not hinder the rights of others.
“You shouldn’t use your rights to violate other people’s rights. For example you can chose not to get a COVID-19 vaccine and go drinking as you wish but this will affect others who were not with you,” Gatari said.
With the continued COVID-19 prevention, enforcement and requirement to vaccinate under the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Rwanda has also seen cases of forgery of COVID-19 tests and vaccine certificates with a recent case being one of a school teacher who was arrested yesterday for forging a Pfizer vaccine certificate and a group of football fans who forged COVID-19 tests- currently in court.
Lawyer Gatari warned that Rwandans should abide by the standing directives since the laws are very clear and anticipate three aspects- protection, promotion and punishment, which can be interpreted from the constitution and other directives aimed at protecting the interests of many, not one.
Some listeners said that they were planning to move to other countries where it is not obligatory to take a vaccine however both Kabera and Gatari said that this would be a bad choice instead it would be advisable to take the vaccine since the same measures are applicable in all corners of the world.