As the deadly Coronavirus pandemic is rearing its ugly head the world over, many countries have been compelled to enforce drastic measures. Rwanda was the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to impose a total lockdown. But in imposing these measures, the country has not forgotten about its vulnerable members of the population.
The Rwandan President Paul Kagame has announced a social protection plan that will support the vulnerable across the country during the lockdown period.
He ordered free door-to-door food distribution for the most vulnerable since the country is in the middle of a lockdown. He is also planning to provide essential services such as the supply of water and electricity for free so that people do not face challenges in acquiring these. He made the food distribution announcement in a television address.
By the time the country imposed the lockdown on on 21 March 2020 , it had reported a total of 17 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. The country has now reported 54 cases. This compels with Africa which has 4111 confirmed cases and 117 deaths.
Making the announcement, Kagame said, “We know that this is not an easy period for most Rwandans, whose livelihoods have been interrupted across the country. But we ask you to be patient. Relevant institutions are working on a social protection plan, to support the most vulnerable in our community. We need to speed this up. We are also working in collaboration with our partners in the region and internationally, to manage this pandemic.”
Families whose lives have been negatively affected by the lockdown are assisted with food delivery right at their doorsteps. Kagame acknowledged that many Rwandans are facing social and economic challenges due to the lockdown.
“Relevant institutions are working on a social protection plan, to support the most vulnerable in our community. We need to speed this up. The government will continue to do everything possible, to support Rwandans through this challenging time,” Mr Kagame said in a televised address to the nation on Friday.
It was his first address since the first case of coronavirus was reported in the country two weeks ago.
“We know that this is not an easy period for most Rwandans, whose livelihoods have been interrupted across the country. But we ask you to be patient. Although we are making good progress, we cannot afford to relax yet,” said Mr Kagame.
The measures have been taken to cushion the private sector throughout the lockdown period.
The President also said that progress has been made in curbing coronavirus spread by enforcing countrywide lockdown and suspending air travel warning that infections “will rise”.