Rusizi district under lockdown over COVID-19

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Parts of Rwanda’s western district of Rusizi were placed under lockdown effective Thursday for the next two weeks due to growing cases of COVID-19 in the area, the Ministry of Health said.

The special lockdown is due to rising confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Rusizi which rose from five to seven and now stand at 12, Tharcisse Mpunga, the State Minister in charge of Primary Health Care said.

“The ministry has taken several response measures, including setting up an isolation center in the district, beefing up our health team to be able to scale up testing and tracing of contacts. Testing will also be done in Rusizi instead of Kigali in order to extend services closer to the people, be able to test more people, and  contain the virus as soon as possible.” 

Residents in Rusizi district will for the next two weeks be allowed to leave home only for essential services such as food shopping and health care, a statement issued earlier in the day by the Ministry of Local Government said.

The areas of the district under lockdown include Kamembe, Nyakarenzo, Mururu, and part of Gihundwe sectors, according to the statement.

Workers in both government and private institutions will work from home for the next two weeks except for those offering essential services.

Also closed are markets and shops except those selling foodstuffs, while restaurants and hotels will operate with fewer staff offering takeaway, it added.

At least 13 new confirmed coronavirus cases were reported on Thursday in Rwanda, bringing the total number to 410 with 280 recoveries and two deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

Rwanda on Tuesday further eased coronavirus restrictions, lifting a ban on movement to and from the capital Kigali to provinces as well as passenger service for commercial motorcycles. However, movement to and from two western Rwanda districts of Rusizi and Rubavu both neighboring the Democratic Republic of Congo is not permitted based on a health assessment.

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