Burundi: Covid-19 - Burundi Suspends Social Gatherings on Weekdays

Bujumbura, Burundi.

Burundi on Monday announced that it had suspended social gatherings on weekdays to curb spread of Covid-19.

Social gatherings are however allowed on weekends.

The decision was made "because they (citizens) do not respect the measures decreed by the health authorities in the fight against the coronavirus. This has resulted in an increase in Covid-19 cases," says a statement by the Internal Affairs Ministry dated September 17, 2021 but released on Monday.

"I would like to inform you that social celebrations and ceremonies will now be organised on Saturdays and Sundays because their multiplicity is also a factor of propagation," said the statement, signed by Burundi's Internal Affairs Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca.

He added that the decision was made following a meeting of the Council of Ministers held on September 8, 2021 that assessed the state of implementation of preventive measures.

The government also urged all governors to ensure measures to prevent Covid-19 spread are implemented countrywide.

According to a September 19 report, a total of 16,732 people had tested positive for coronavirus in the country as of September 18.

5,480 people tested positive for Covid-19 between August 21 and September 18, out of a total 201,569 tests conducted.

As part of the country's efforts to curb Covid-19 spread, Burundi has stepped up measures including implementing the putting on of masks while in public transport and social gatherings, social distancing, and washing hands thoroughly before entering any building.

The country has also instituted fines for breach of Covid rules, including 50,000 bif (approximately $25) to individuals found not wearing masks in public transport, while Bujumbura Mayor Jimmy Hatungimana recently imposed a fine of 100,000 bif for those found without masks in public gatherings.

The country has also suspended the operation of night clubs countrywide.

Burundi earlier closed land and sea borders with the exception of Gatumba border with DR Congo and Kobero/Kabanga border with Tanzania, while the airport resumed its normal operations after a brief suspension last year.

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