Government lifts lockdown in Kigali, eight other districts

By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti

The cabinet meeting on Friday lifted the lockdown that was imposed by the government in the capital city of Kigali and either other districts for the last 15 days.

Those districts are Gasabo, Kicukiro, Nyarugenge, Gicumbi, Musanze, Rubavu, Burera, Kamonyii, Rutsiro, Rwamagana and Nyagatare.

The government had placed the districts after they were identified as hotspots of COVID-19 catalysed by the Delta variant that was confirmed early this month.

The lockdown will be removed from August 1, 2021, according to the communique issued by the Prime Minister’s office.

Inter-district movement shall also resume except in fifty sectors that are under a localized lockdown.

 “Movements will be prohibited between 6PM to 4AM as business close at 5PM and all social gatherings are prohibited,” reads the statement in part.

The new measures also say that public transport and private businesses will operate at 50% capacity while private and public offices operate at 15% capacity.

Meetings and conferences should not exceed 30% of the venue capacity and attendants should present a negative Covid-19 test, as per the new restrictions.

All bars, gyms, recreational centers and places of worship will remain closed as restaurants and cafes provide take away services only, according to the communique.

For people who attend a wake or vigil, the number has been limited to 10 persons and those who have weddings both religious and civil will not exceed 30 persons and must have a negative Covid-19 test.

International passengers arriving and departing from the Kigali International Airport must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure, according to the statement.

Also, domestic and international tourism activities will resume operations with a strict adherence to Covid-19 preventive measures.

 Businesses upbeat

Business operators whose activities were closed to curb the spread of COVID-19 have hailed the government for lifting the lockdown saying they were ready to reopen their businesses.

“It is a good move that the lockdown is lifted, as drivers, we are happy because we are going to resume transport activities, though the number of passengers was limited to 50%, at least we will be operating. Life was hard in the lockdown and we are hoping that things will change,” John Mazimpaka a taxi driver in the city of Kigali said.

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