Rwandan Health Minister Daniel Ngamije on Tuesday warned that the government will be forced to impose a second nationwide total lockdown if people continue to flout preventive measures put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19, reported CGTN Africa.
During a live talk show about the latest anti-COVID-19 measures, Ngamije said the country recorded an unprecedented increase in COVID-19 infections and transmission rates since June 8.
On Monday, the health ministry reported 622 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, the highest daily increase since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country on March 14, 2020.
The Rwandan minister said the rapid spike in infections indicates that people have become complacent on COVID-19 preventive measures. He attributed the surge in infections to citizens’ persistent violation of COVID-19 preventive measures.
“If people continue to ignore rules on social distancing, wearing face masks, and washing hands and other anti-COVID-19 preventive guidelines, the government will be forced to reinstate the second nationwide total lockdown to curb the spread of the virus,” Ngamije said.
He said that with the arrival of vaccines and the beginning of the vaccination campaign, the people became complacent on COVID-19 preventive measures and began to hold all kinds of celebrations such as birthday parties, weddings, and other social interactions.
The Rwandan minister appealed to all people to adhere to the COVID-19 preventive measures that include wearing a face mask, frequent hand washing, and avoiding unnecessary movements to crowded places and social gatherings, as the country awaits the arrival of more vaccines.
On Monday, the government also banned movement between the capital city Kigali and the rest of the country except for essential services and goods transportation. The curfew hours have been extended by two more hours, starting from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.
The small central African country expects to secure 4.5 million more vaccine doses in the coming months.
A nationwide campaign is aimed at vaccinating 60 percent of the population by next year has so far reached just three percent of the population.