Rwanda has tightened Covid-19 restrictions to curb rising infections and mitigate the risk of a severe third wave that is already being experienced in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
In a Cabinet meeting on Monday, President Paul Kagame re-imposed tight restrictions including the suspension of all social gatherings. He also adjusted curfew time from 9pm-4am to 7pm- 4am.
Movements between Kigali and other provinces in the country are prohibited except for medical reasons and other essential services.
"Given the recent rise in Covid-19 cases and transmission rates in the community, the Cabinet has reviewed the existing health measures to contain the further spread of the virus.
The public is reminded of the importance of complying with health measures including physical distancing, wearing face masks, and ensuring hand hygiene. Penalties will be applied for non-compliance... " reads in part a Cabinet communique released on Monday evening.
After devastating shocks and setbacks, Rwanda had started a gradual lifting of restrictions after a second wave of infections led to a three-week lockdown in Kigali in early 2021.
Recently, the country successfully hosted two major sporting events - Tour Du Rwanda and the Basketball Africa League, raising hopes of fully reopening the economy.
However, a recent spike in infections has forced the government to reintroduce restrictions and ramp up Covid-19 testing to mitigate the risk of a severe third wave.
As of Sunday, Rwanda had 3,727 active coronavirus cases, a total of 30,813 coronavirus cases, out of 1,551,520 tests done and 382 deaths. The country has so far vaccinated 390,777 people.
"...A third wave is probable, based on the current numbers. But we can still fight that and ensure that the situation goes back to where it has been for the past months..." said Dr Daniel Ngamije, Rwanda's Minister of Health during a press briefing on June 12.
Of concern are imported infections from - Uganda and India which has forced the country to impose a 7 day mandatory quarantine on travellers arriving from both countries effective 15th June.
The government also imposed restrictions on movements in four districts neighbouring the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda to contain the spread of the virus following a recent surge in new cases.
Rwanda needs at least 13 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to inoculate its target 60 per cent of the population, about 7.5 million people, by June 2022.