The Rwandan government on Wednesday announced it has put the capital Kigali and eight other districts across the country under lockdown from July 17 to July 26 due to a surge in COVID-19 case numbers and deaths, reported France 24.
The restrictions will remain imposed until July 26, the office of Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente said in a statement late Wednesday.
“Citizens are urged to significantly reduce social interactions and limit movements only to essential services,” it said.
Under the new measures, the public is not permitted to leave home except for essential services. All public and private offices, except for those providing key services, will remain closed. Schools have been ordered to remain closed, there is a ban on outdoor sport and recreational activities and the number of people attending funerals is capped at 15.
International arrivals and tourism will however continue. Dusk to dawn curfew, which was introduced in June, will remain in force. International arrivals and tourism will continue.
The Rwandan government has enforced some of the strictest containment measures on the continent and implementing a rigorous regime of testing and contact tracing.
But the cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks as the East African nation battles different variants of the virus, including delta. Hospitals and medical institutions have been overwhelmed, with a critical shortage of beds and desperately needed medicines.
Rwanda, which is home to 13 million people, has registered over 51,000 cases of COVID-19 of which 607 have been fatal. The health ministry reported 934 new cases by Wednesday evening.
The vaccine uptake in the country, like other African nations, has been slow due in part to a lack of doses and public apathy.
According to the latest government statistics, a nationwide campaign aimed at vaccinating 60 percent of the population by next year has so far reached just 401,160 people.