COVID-19: Heeding prevention guidelines presents enormous wins

On 31 March 2021 at 05:26

Residents of Rwanda are urged to continue upholding the prevention guidelines against the pandemic of COVID-19 especially as we enter Easter, Kwibuka27 and school holidays.

The call was made on Tuesday, March 30, which brought together ministers; Dr. Daniel Ngamije of Health, Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi of Local Government, Dr. Valentine Uwamariya of Education and Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson, CP John Bosco Kabera.

New directives

Under the new nationwide directives, movements are prohibited between 9pm-4am, all businesses must close by 8pm; public offices will continue with essential staff with no more than 30% capacity while other employees continue working from home on rotational basis.

Private businesses will continue with essential staff at no more than 30% capacity while markets and malls will continue with essential vendors and must not exceed 50% of registered traders.

Movements between Kigali and provinces and between districts of the country are permitted but movement are prohibited between 7pm to 4am in the Southern districts of Ruhango, Nyanza, Huye, Gisagara, Nyaruguru and Nyamagabe.

Public transport (buses) should not exceed 50% capacity. The bus operators will ensure passengers maintain social distancing and only passengers with masks will be allowed on board.

Motos and bicycles are permitted to carry passengers but must observe strict hygiene; physical meetings will resume but should not exceed 30% of venue capacity. In case the meeting participants exceed 20 people, COVID-19 testing will be required.

All bars remain closed, gyms, recreational centers and gaming activities are still prohibited. And all swimming pools and spas are closed except for those at hotels hosting guests.

Places of worship will resume with no more than 30% maximum occupancy; attendance at vigil must not exceed 10 persons at any one time; funeral gatherings should not exceed 20 persons; civil and religious weddings will continue but should not exceed 20 persons and must comply with COVID-19 prevention guidelines. Receptions are prohibited.

Restaurants and café remain open with 30% occupancy limit and can receive clients until 8pm.

Tourism activity will continue in strict adherence with COVID-19 health guidelines.

This includes hotels, tour operators and transport services facilitating guests.

Tourists and services providers shall inform Rwanda Development Board (RDB) of their itineraries.

Individual and non-contact outdoor sport activities are permitted.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Ngamije said compliance is key to containing the spread of the virus.

"The past year fighting the pandemic should be a lesson to everyone; the prevention measures against COVID-19 will continue to be observed until at least 60 percent of the population are vaccinated," Dr. Ngamije said.

CP Kabera appreciated those, who continue to be exemplary in compliance with the directives as well as varied partners including local government entities and community policing groups for the partnership in awareness and enforcement.

"When directives are tightened people complain and when they are eased people disregard them and indulge in actions that can potentially spread the virus; this will not be tolerated," CP Kabera said.

He added: "We have seen people organizing house parties, birthdays and bridal showers; for instance, early this morning we paraded to the media 39 people for hosting a house party. There are those who violate the directives claiming that they were vaccinated and those who organize weddings with people above the maximum number."

Over the past two weeks, over 74,650 pedestrians were arrested across the country for violating varied directives.

Also, 816 vehicles, 570 motos and 136 bicycles were impounded during the same period.

At least 355 bars were found operating, 2066 people caught drinking while four hotels and 60 restaurants were closed for flouting the directives.

CP Kabera reminded the public to adhere to the prevention guidelines rather than being forced.