Direct flights between Rwanda and southern Africa countries suspended

On 29 November 2021 at 04:32

The extra-ordinary cabinet meeting held on Sunday 28th November 2021 has taken new measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 where direct flights between Rwanda and southern Africa countries have been suspended.

The resolution follows the confirmation of a new serious variant of COVID-19 dubbed ’Omicron’.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the new coronavirus variant to be "of concern" noting that it has a large number of mutations, and early evidence suggested an increased reinfection risk.

The new variant was first confirmed in South Africa on 24th November 2021, and has also been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Israel.

Considering the severity of the new variant, different countries have banned to and from southern Africa.

In the Netherlands, 13 people were recently detected with the new variant after arriving in Amsterdam from South Africa.

The cabinet meeting held on Sunday ,chaired by President Paul Kagame discusssed Rwanda’s response to COVID-19 Omicron variant which has been reported a variant of concern.

Rwandans have been urged to exercise extra vigilance in the practice and enforcement of preventive measures.

"Direct flights between Rwanda and southern Africa countries are temporarily suspended," reads part of resolutions of the cabinet meeting.

Among others, all arriving and departing passengers at Kigali International Airport must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken in 72 hours prior to the departure.

The cabinet meeting has also resolved that all arriving passengers must quarantine for 24 hours at a designated hotel at their own cost.

However, a seven-day quarantine will be required for passengers travelling from , or those with a recent history of travel in , particularly affected countries.

The Ministry of Health will release the list of those countries following continuous assessment of global health conditions in collaboration with relevant international institutions.

People attending events including conferences, concerts, weddings, festivals, or exhibitions must be fully vaccinated and tested.

The statement reads that gatherings should take place outdoors or in well-ventilated spaces as much as possible.

Rwandans have been urged to get fully vaccinated, frequently tested and continue being vigilant in practicing COVID-19 preventive measures including physical distancing, properly wearing face masks, ensuring proper ventilation and hand hygiene.

Rwanda has suspended flights from and to southern Africa countries.