The Rwandan government announced on Wednesday, August 26, that the nationwide curfew introduced due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has been extended by two hours to 19:00 to 05:00 (local time). Travel restrictions have also been increased in Kigali and the western district of Rusizi, with public transport in and out of the capital being banned. Shops and non-essential business in the capital will be expected to operate at a maximum of 50 percent occupancy, although some in high-risk areas have been ordered to close. The scheduled reopening of schools in September has also been postponed.
The move follows a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the country in recent weeks, many of which have been concentrated in Kigali and the Rusizi district. Having confirmed less than 250 cases during its initial COVID-19 lockdown in March and April, Rwanda has reported up to 200 new cases per day over the last week as infections have spiked. More than a third of the country’s 3625 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the last ten days, with many of these being linked to several large markets in Kigali which were closed on August 16.
International commercial flights from Kigali International Airport (KGL) resumed on August 1 amid the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions. All travelers entering the country are required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from within 120 hours prior to their departure to the country. Travelers will also be required to enter into temporary quarantine at a government-designated hotel and take a second COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arrival, with onward travel within the country being authorized after confirmation of a negative test result. COVID-19 screening will also be in place for those leaving the country, with travelers displaying symptoms being prevented from boarding their flight and quarantined at an isolation facility until they can take a COVID-19 test.
As of Thursday, August 27, health authorities have confirmed a total of 3625 COVID-19 cases in Rwanda, with 15 associated deaths. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.