Rwanda: COVID-19 - Govt Promises Support to Severely Vulnerable Families

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

The Minister of Local Government, Anastase Shyaka, has said that the government will look into supporting severely vulnerable families during this lockdown aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

Shyaka was speaking during a televised programme on Sunday, March 22, to shed more light on the government's decision to enforce a countrywide lockdown and only allow essential services to remain in operation for the next two weeks.

Rwanda has since last Saturday recorded 17 cases of the virus and according to the health ministry, the patients continue to recover.

Responding to a question regarding the setbacks that will are expected to come with the lockdown, Shyaka said that they would talk to grassroots authorities to provide support to families that could be hit hard.

"We are going to discuss with the local authorities to help families that are deemed vulnerable. We also call on Rwandans to support each other during this time and to share whatever they have," he said.

Calls for teamwork

Shyaka pointed out that the only way to defeat this virus is through combined efforts between authorities and the locals.

"This concerns each and every one of us. If we advise you not to open your shop, it is important that you follow the advice because if someone buying merchandise from you is infected, he will bring the virus to your household. Let us work together to protect ourselves and our loved ones," he said.

He called on local authorities, from the grassroots level to push the locals to ensure that all directives are adhered to.

"Anyone in a leadership position needs to take this as an assignment. Local leaders need to move from house to house if need be, stand at the gate and provide all the information regarding the decision to lockdown and the significance of people staying in their homes," he said.

In a statement released Saturday evening, the prime minister declared that effective midnight on Saturday, all the country's borders will be closed for the next two weeks.

Other measures include a temporary ban on non-essential travel between different cities and districts across the country, while all employees in the public and private sector will work from home.

The announcement follows several other preventive measures whereby schools, places of worship, conferences and other events, were suspended.

Globally, by Saturday, 301,552 Coronavirus cases had been recorded while the death toll stands at 12,955.

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