Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Authorities in Rwanda plan to resume commercial flights from August 1 amid easing of restrictions related to COVID-19.
- Alert Begins: 04 Jul 2020 11:30 PM UTC
- Alert Expires: 01 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: Restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Business and transport disruptions; heightened security
Authorities in Rwanda have announced plans to resume commercial flights from August 1 amid easing of restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). All travelers, including those in transit, must provide proof of having been tested negative for COVID-19 in the 72 hours before arrival in Rwanda.
On June 16, authorities announced that they would ease a series of restrictions, including:
- Domestic and international tourism is permitted for visitors arriving on chartered flights. Kigali International Airport (KGL) remains closed to normal commercial air traffic.
- Public gatherings, including funerals and weddings, may not exceed 30 people.
- Businesses may reopen with essential staff only; authorities are encouraging work from home when possible.
The measures update existing restrictions, including:
- A nationwide nightly 2100-0500 curfew for the general public remains in place. The curfew does not apply to individuals working in essential businesses or critical sectors. All traders are required to accept digital payments as alternative forms of payment.
- Outdoor sports activities are permitted with strict adherence to health guidelines.
- Private and public transportation between provinces will resume except movement to and from Rusizi and Rubavu Districts. All public transportation within Rusizi and Rubavu Districts is closed.
- Public transportation between provinces will resume except movement to and from Rusizi districts. Movement in zones under lockdown in Rusizi District and in the city of Kigali is prohibited.
- Movement to and from Rubavu District will resume.
- Motorcycles are permitted to carry passengers except in Rusizi District and zones under lockdown in the city of Kigali with strict adherence to hygiene and the wearing of face masks.
- All residents are required to wear face coverings in public at all times.
- Rwanda's border crossings remain closed, except for the movement of cargo, returning Rwandans, and Rwandan permanent residents.
- All returning citizens and residents will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
- All flights to and from Kigali International Airport (KGL), with the exception of cargo and emergency flights, remain suspended. Enhanced health screenings are underway at all ports of entry.
- Hotels and restaurants will continue to resume limited operations, provided that they observe social distancing guidelines. A June 2 order allows restaurants to open until 1900 daily; hotels will also be able to operate so long as they only allow guests on their premises in the evenings.
- Schools are closed through September.
- Places of worship are closed until further notice.
Officials will review the country's preventive measures every 15 days; they will implement further measures or ease existing restrictions, depending on the evolution of disease activity in the country.
Background and Analysis
Rwanda's travel restrictions and preventive measures correspond with similar actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.