Rwanda Airports re-open for Commercial Flights under tight COVID-19 guidelines

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Rwanda opened airports for commercial flight operations starting August 1; Courtesy Photo

Rwanda today, (August 1) has opened its airports for scheduled commercial flight operations but with tight guidelines to prevent spread of coronavirus.

The news is the latest move by Rwanda to gradually reopen its economy following an announcement in mid-June that saw the re-opening of tourism activities and a resumption of international travel for charter flights.

According to a statement issued, Rwanda Airports Company has also opened up the Kigali International Airport for private and chartered flights. All incoming and outgoing commercial passenger flights were suspended in March only allowing cargo and emergency flights to operate, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement from the country’s health ministry, all passengers, including those in transit, will be required to show proof of a COVID-19 PCR negative test from a certified laboratory. The papers of tests must indicate that they were taken within 72 hours of arrival in Rwanda.

Upon entry, before security check-in, passengers have to sanitize, keep their masks on, then proceed for security checks.

All passengers will have to show the covid-19 negative certificate, whether they are arriving, transiting, or departing from Rwanda. However, arriving passengers will undertake a second test at their own cost of $50, to confirm the first done prior to arrival.

Arriving passengers are required to stay 24 hours in designated transit hotels at a cost ranging between $40 and $200, as they wait for results from the second test before they proceed on their journey. This means that travelers going through Rwanda must stay in hotels for 24 hours before they proceed. The cost includes 3 meals every day but no refund is given if a client takes fewer meals.

According to the statement, if your test result is positive, you will be taken to a medical facility for specialized treatment at your own cost and travelers are advised to have international travel insurance.

Automated machines have been installed at airports and therefore passengers can self-check-in and out to reduce person-to-person contact. Staff can assist if passengers request. Traditional check-ins are also available, but not encouraged.

Airports have been fitted with thermo-cameras to monitor passengers on arrival and a high tech robot has been deployed to support the airport crew in enforcing covid-19 measures and guidelines recommended by the World Health Organisation. Robots will be performing random mass screenings.

Airport floors have also been painted with marks indicating how passengers should stand between each other. Sanitizing stations for footwear and hands are installed at each entry and exit point.

A specialized clinic has also been designated to handle covid-19 at airports as a separate operation.

According to the Africa CDC, Rwanda has reported 2,022 confirmed cases, five deaths and 1,106 recoveries, as of August 1.

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