By Ange Iliza & By IVAN R. MUGISHA, The EastAfrican
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Rwanda has reinstated strict Covid-19 preventive measures ahead of the festive season, nine months after the first Covid-19 case was reported in the country.
Effective Tuesday, all social and public gatherings are prohibited including weddings, and the curfew will now begin at 9pm instead of 10pm. The curfew ends at 4am as before.
From December 22, the hours will be further tightened and the curfew will run from 8pm-4am.
The announcements were made following a Cabinet meeting held on Monday, chaired by President Paul Kagame.
Gyms and swimming pools, which had been authorised to reopen last month, have been ordered to close again, except those in hotels.
Churches are allowed to hold service once a week with 50 percent of the congregation.
The national football premier league games and training camps have been suspended with the exception of the national football team competitions and clubs involved in international competitions.
Meetings, conferences, and workplaces should not exceed 30 percent of accommodated people and public transportation will operate at 50 percent capacity.
On Monday, Rwanda registered 131 new coronavirus infections, which is the highest daily total recorded since August.
In the last two weeks, the country has recorded a total of 814 infections and seven deaths.
As of Tuesday, Rwanda had registered a total of 6,747 coronavirus cases, 5,996 recoveries, and 56 deaths.
Health practitioners and national police have attributed the spike to the public disregard of Covid-19 precautionary measures.
“We all wish to get Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible but we know operational and logistic constraints to manage and address. Expect initial doses of the vaccine between March and June 2021,” Rwanda’s Health Minister, Dr Daniel Ngamije, said in a tweet on Tuesday.
The Minister of State in Charge of Primary Healthcare, Dr Tharcisse Mpunga, said gatherings, especially weddings, were among the catalysts of spreading Covid-19 infections.
Musanze, being one of the hotbeds of infections after Kigali and Rubavu, was put under a 7pm-4 am curfew. Meetings and conferences in Musanze are prohibited.
Rwanda is now offering Covid-19 tests on arrival at Kigali International Airport.