Rwanda: Police Weigh in On COVID-19 Lockdown

An aerial view of Kigali Convention Centre and its environs in Kimihurura.

Rwanda National Police (RNP) has urged the public to understand and responsibly implement the new COVID-19 preventive guidelines.

The call was made by CP John Bosco Kabera, the RNP Spokesperson, as he appeared before a televised talkshow to discuss the recent lockdown after the country confirmed 17 cases of COVID-19.

Kabera said the situation was increasingly getting serious, urging the public to respond accordingly.

Kabera appeared before the public broadcaster Rwanda Television alongside the Minister of Local Government and Minister of Health on Sunday, March 22, to shed light on the new guidelines aimed at tackling the spread of coronavirus.

"People should understand the rationale for these measures. The virus is silently deadly. Collaboration is needed to face it," he said.

He explained that prevention is the key.

From personal to national level, he said, preventive measures must be owned and implemented for the greater good.

"Prevention is possible. If you are not among the 17 cases, you can definitely prevent yourself and others from contracting the virus during this 15-day lockdown. Let us refocus our energy on prevention during the next two weeks," he said.

Penalties in place

A statement released by the office of the prime minister on Saturday, March 21, prohibits unnecessary movements between provinces, cities and places.

Kabera said that the police have the duty to enforce and inspect the implementation of the measures.

Asked whether there were penalties in place for people who fault the guidelines, Kabera replied that usual penalties against misconducts will continue to work and that police officers have been deployed countrywide to ensure that the measures are enforced.

"We urge people to avoid excuses for unnecessary movements. Our officers will restrict people who have no urgent reasons to move," he said.

He added that if a business was obliged to close, they should close and communicate to clients. If they fail to comply with that, the police will intervene.

"There are cases where businesses try to trick local authorities and sneak customers in. We want them to understand and follow the rules for their own good," he said.

Kabera also called for collaboration between concerned authorities to enforce the measures.

"The situation does not concern particular people or institutions. We are all into this. I emphasize that people really understand that they need to collaborate otherwise we will have to strengthen our enforcement strategies," he added.

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