Africa, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Rwanda extends nationwide lockdown until April 19

Preventive measures have slowed spread of novel coronavirus, says president

James Tasamba  | 02.04.2020 - Update : 02.04.2020
Rwanda extends nationwide lockdown until April 19

KIGALI, Rwanda

Rwanda on Wednesday extended its lockdown to April 19 as part of efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.   

“Unnecessary movement and visits outside the home are not permitted except for essential services such as healthcare, food shopping or banking and for personnel performing such services,” Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente said in a communique following a cabinet meeting. 

It said places of worship will remain closed as well as both public and private schools and higher education institutions. 

The Ministry of Health announced earlier in the day that the number of confirmed cases had risen to 82 after seven more people were diagnosed with the disease. 

In the East African Community bloc, meanwhile, Kenya now has 81 cases, Uganda 44, Tanzania 19 and Burundi two, while South Sudan has none. 

Globally, the number of cases now totals 932,605, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. 

Rwanda had originally announced an initial two-week lockdown on March 21 which was set to expire in a few days. 

“The measures we take now will determine how fast we take to overcome this pandemic in order to return to normal lives,” President Paul Kagame said earlier last week in a televised address. 

“We took a difficult decision to suspend commercial passenger flights and closed land borders, which helped to prevent imported new cases.” 

Kagame acknowledged Wednesday the efforts made in observing the preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus, according to the communique. 

All public and private sector employees shall continue to use technology to work from home except for those providing essential services, it said. 

“Borders will remain closed except for goods and cargo as well as returning Rwandan citizens and legal residents who will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated locations.” 

While travel between different cities and districts of the country is also not permitted except for medical reasons or essential services, transport of food and essential services will continue to function. 

Shops and markets will remain closed except those selling food, medicine and other essentials.

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