COVID-19: Rwanda allows church services, weddings as infection cases decreases

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By Grace Audu (HEALTH CORRESPONDENT) –

Rwanda has relaxed Covid-19 restrictions following a progressive decrease in infections, with the positive rate falling from 10% to 4%.

This has been linked to the country’s rigorous procedures, which include lockdowns.

The reassessment of Covid-19 measures comes less than a week after the country resumed mass vaccinations. Due to a shortage of vaccines, vaccinations have stalled, but the country received extra doses last week and expects to get more vaccines soon.

Rwanda reached half a million people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 last week. As of Tuesday, 680,470 persons had been fully vaccinated as a result of the nationwide immunization program, which began on August 2.

President Paul Kagame chaired a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to adjust curfew hours, which will now begin at 8 p.m. and end at 4 a.m., allowing enterprises to function until 7 p.m. Curfew hours used to start at 6 p.m., and businesses were not allowed to operate after that time.

Restaurants will now be allowed to operate at a maximum of 30% occupancy, while hotels will be able to host physical meetings that do not exceed 30% of the venue’s capacity. All meeting attendees will be required to take the Covid-19 examinations. Places of worship will reopen with no more than 30% of their original capacity.

Civil, religious and traditional marriage ceremonies will resume with 50 people allowed to attend physically.

The new guidelines will take effect on August 12 until September 1.

Arriving and departing passengers at Kigali International Airport shall present Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure.

People above the age of 40, and pregnant and breastfeeding women are now among the priority groups for vaccination.

As of August 10, Rwanda had a death toll of 911 people and 41 patients were in critical condition. In 77,107 tests taken in the last seven days, 4,649 people tested positive.

Rwanda plans to vaccinate 1.5 million people by September and 60 percent of its 12.6 million population by June 2022. The country needs 13 million doses of the vaccine to attain its goal.

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