Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Officials in Rwanda shorten curfew hours and ease coronavirus disease-related movement restrictions between Rusizi and other districts.

Alert Begins 11 Sep 2020 07:36 PM UTC
Alert Expires 25 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions; heightened security

As of Sept. 10, authorities in Rwanda have shortened the nation's curfew to 2100-0500 as part of efforts to ease restrictions put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Per the most recent directives, movement restrictions imposed between Rusizi and other districts will be lifted, provided travelers adhere to strict health and safety guidelines.

Authorities have previously eased several COVID-19 restrictions. Domestic and international flights have resumed. International passengers arriving at Kigali International Airport (KGL) airport must present a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken within 120 hours prior to departure. In addition, all arriving passengers are required to quarantine at a designated hotel for a minimum of 24 hours in order to complete a second COVID-19 test. Restaurants, hotels, shops, and tourism services have resumed limited operations but must comply with social distancing guidelines. Officials require all traders to accept digital payments as alternative forms of payment. Places of worship are permitted to resume services. National parks are now open to visitors who have tested negative for COVID-19.

The following measures remain in place:


  • Individuals are required to wear protective face coverings while in public.


  • Land borders remain closed, except for goods and cargo traffic, as well as returning Rwandan citizens and legal residents. All returnees are subjected to mandatory quarantine in accordance with existing health guidelines at their own cost.


  • Schools and bars are closed until further notice.


  • Funeral attendance may not exceed 30 persons.


  • Government offices will remain open, albeit with only 30 percent of their staff working on-site at a time, while other employees work from home.


  • Malls and markets may operate at 50-percent capacity.


  • Mass gatherings are prohibited without special permission, and events must not exceed 30 percent of the venue's capacity.


All establishments that reopen and activities that resume are subject to strict health directives aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Rwandan authorities review the country's preventive measures every 15 days and could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
Rwanda's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to 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.

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