Rwanda blocks capital as COVID cases increase


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Rwanda will put the capital Kigali and eight other districts across the country closed from Saturday to curb coronavirus cases and deaths, officials said.

The restrictions will run until July 26, Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente’s office said on Wednesday afternoon.

“Citizens are urged to significantly reduce social interactions and limit movements only to essential services,” he said.

The closure of public and private offices was ordered, with the exception of those providing key services.

Other measures that will need to come into force include a ban on outdoor sports and , while schools will remain closed and the number of funeral attendees is limited to 15.

However, international arrivals and tourism will continue.

The evening curfew introduced at dawn, introduced in June throughout the country, is still in force.

To date, Rwanda has averted the worst of the pandemic by implementing some of the continent’s strictest containment measures and implementing a rigorous testing and contact tracking regime.

But in recent weeks, cases have skyrocketed as the East African nation struggles with more virulent variants of the virus, including the delta.

Hospitals have been overwhelmed, with a critical shortage of beds and medicines they desperately needed.

The country of 13 million people has registered nearly 51,000 cases of COVID-19 of which 607 have been fatal.

But, like other countries on the continent, vaccine uptake has been slow due in part to a lack of doses and public apathy.

A national campaign to vaccinate 60% of the population next year has so far reached only 401,160 people, according to the latest government statistics.

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