Hard Times: Coping with social distancing and mandatory quarantine

On 23 March 2020 at 06:54

After Dr. Ngamije Daniel, Minister of Health announced that the 19 coronavirus patients who have so far been identified in Rwanda had close contact with at 680 individuals, the government of Rwanda took stricter measures to curb the spread of the virus.

New preventive measures include closing borders and mandatory quarantine for Rwandans who do not provide essential services.

Given that most people in Kigali earn daily income, mandatory quarantine posed a significant challenge for family heads to feed their families.

However, mandatory quarantine was imposed for the greater good and it is primordial that Rwandans adhere to it by staying at home.

For taxi-moto drivers, small scale retailers, carpenters or street sweepers, mandatory quarantine has been challenging since they were deprived of their only source of income.

To prevent further spread of coronavirus, Rwandans must learn at all costs to practice social distancing and work with the available means to cover needs for the entire quarantine period. Since no one knows when life will get back to normal, Rwandans are advised to avoid spending money on unnecessary purchases such as alcohol or other drugs but rather spend on essential needs such as food, hygiene products, electricity, and water.

In an interview with RTV on the challenges posed by coronavirus preventive measures, Prof Shyaka Anastase observed that the government of Rwanda is currently brainstorming ways to support citizens in need especially those who were affected by mandatory quarantine measures.

Time and again, the government of Rwanda has financially assisted Rwandans by building affordable housing for the poor and providing food to families of farmers whose yield was affected by climate change among others.

While the coronavirus outbreak was unpredicted and was not included on Rwanda National Budget for this fiscal year, it is important to remember that Rwandans have always found their way around challenging financial situations.

A remarkable example is the Agaciro Development Fund, Rwanda’s sovereign wealth fund that was initiated by Rwandans to build up public savings, achieve self-reliance, maintain stability in times of national economic shocks and accelerate Rwanda’s socio-economic development goals.

Fighting coronavirus demands a joint effort between citizens and the government of Rwanda. Rwandans should respect established preventive measures such as regularly washing hands, staying at home and practicing social distancing. There is no doubt whatsoever that if Rwandans abide by those measures, coronavirus will be eradicated and life will go back to normal.

Teddy Kaberuka, an economic analyst share his point of view