Rwanda bans religious congregation, funerals, in response to first Covid-19 case
London, March 15, 2020 (AltAfrica)-In the wake of its first COVID-19 recorded infection, Rwanda has suspended religious congregation, academic activities in schools , funerals and weddings and large gatherings among others for an initial period of two weeks effective
In a statement by the ministry of health on Saturday, the government said places of worship would be closed from Sunday March 15 with prayers to be said from homes.
Schools are also to be closed from Monday March 16 as well to ensure that there are no threats to citizens. “The move is in line with further strengthening our country’s ability to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, after Rwanda confirmed its first case of the pandemic on Saturday. “
Large gatherings such as weddings and funerals are also to be suspended in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Statement on New Measures to Prevent COVID-19 Coronavirus Transmission pic.twitter.com/YQPolbUz55— Ministry of Health (@RwandaHealth) March 14, 2020
But businesses and restaurants are to continue to operate with customers made to keep distances from each other.
The government also wants employers to allow employees to work from home whenever possible.
The disease was found in an Indian citizen who arrived in the country on March 8 from Mumbai, India. The Ministry of Health said that the patient was isolated from other patients after testing positive.
This case is so far the second in East Africa after Kenya recorded the first case on Friday.
“Places of worship are closed from Sunday 15 March 2020, with prayers to be conducted from home,” says the statement, adding that: “Schools and higher education institutions (both public and private) shall close on Monday 16 March 2020.”
The communique also noted that: “Large gatherings such as weddings and sporting events are to be postponed, and the number of people attending burial ceremonies should be minimized.”
However, businesses and restaurants continue to operate, but adequate distance of at least one meter between customers must be maintained.
The ministry also among others highlighted that: “Employees should be permitted to work from home wherever possible, in consultation with their employers.”
In a tweet thread on Saturday, President Paul Kagame spoke about the situation, calling for focus, not panic, and adherence to the preventive measures that have been issued by the Ministry of Health.
Washing hands frequently, avoiding handshakes, practicing social distancing of at least 1m away from people, among others. We urge everyone to follow the health guidelines (supported by science and best management practices): https://t.co/gAwo6Emzfj.— Paul Kagame (@PaulKagame) March 14, 2020
Some of precautionary measures that every Rwandan should follow so as to help tackle the pandemic include; avoiding unnecessary travels to countries with COVID-19, avoiding handshakes and hugs and frequently washing hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based sanitizer.
The measures also include avoiding touching the nose, eyes or mouth before washing hands.
Citizens can also call 114- Rwanda Biomedical Center’s toll-free number, for further guidance.
Similarly, Senegal’s President Macky Sall on Saturday announced strict measures aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus, including banning public gatherings, closing schools and cancelling April 4 Independence Day festivities.
“I have decided, first of all, to ban all public events for 30 days throughout the country,” Sall said on national television following an emergency meeting.
The president also announced a temporary ban on cruise ships docking in Senegal and the introduction of systematic health controls at all borders.
He also cancelled the official festivities to mark the 60th anniversary of independence from France and closed all schools and universities for three weeks beginning Monday.
With confirmed 21 infections, Senegal has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in sub-Saharan Africa.