Rwanda further loosens coronavirus restrictions

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Rwandan cabinet on Tuesday further eased coronavirus restrictions, lifting a ban on movement to and from the capital Kigali 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, according to a communiqué released early Wednesday by the Prime Minister’s Office following a cabinet meeting.

Public transport and motorcycle passenger service are also not permitted in the two districts.

The measures will be reviewed after 15 days based on health assessment.

Five COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Saturday in Rusizi, prompting authorities to tighten precautionary measures.

According to the communiqué, Rwanda’s borders will remain closed except for cargo trucks and returning Rwandans and legal residents who will be subject to mandatory isolation.

Also to remain shut are schools, churches, and bars.

Continuous tests for coronavirus will be conducted to ensure more movement of people does not pose another spike in the numbers, the communiqué added.

Last Sunday, the ministry of health warned the public against complacence, saying the virus still posed a serious health threat.

It urged the public to respect health guidelines including regular hand washing, social distancing and compulsory wearing of face masks.

The number of confirmed cases in the east African country reached 384 on Tuesday after seven new cases were registered, with 269 recoveries and two deaths.

Rwanda registered its first death from coronavirus on Saturday, 65-year-old Rwandan truck driver who returned to the country after falling ill from a neighboring country.

Last Sunday, the government had cancelled its earlier decision to further loosen the lockdown on June 1 after reassessing the situation.

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