Rwanda reimposes tough COVID-19 rules after recording 6 cases of Omicron variant

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Paul Kagame chaired a cabinet meeting that introduced revised rules in prevention of COVID-19 infections; Courtesy Photo

Rwanda has tightened COVID-19 rules on gatherings, including a ban on night clubs, after the country recorded six cases of the highly transmissible COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

A Cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame Tuesday, revised virus rules, imposing restrictions on crowds, and calling for vaccination and regular testing as part of efforts to slow transmission of the new variant ahead of the end year festive season.

The Cabinet suspended all night clubs as well as live band entertainment in other venues, while organized concerts will be subjected to approval on case by case basis by relevant government officials.

In Rwanda, recreational and entertainment venues, like other events and gatherings such as concerts, exhibitions and festivals, had been reopened for vaccinated and tested participants at 50 per cent of venue capacity.

Public and private sector offices, which had recalled workers and were operating at 75 per cent and full capacity, respectively, have been urged to operate at no more than 30 per cent and 50 per cent capacity, respectively.

In the latest announcement, all arriving passengers must quarantine for three days at designated hotels for three days with a PCR test taken on arrival, and additional test taken on day three and on day seven at own cost.

Restrictions have been imposed on other events such as parties in homes, weddings and burial ceremonies all of which will be attended by restricted number of people with proof of negative Covid-19 test and full vaccination, as well as seeking authorization in the latter case.

According to the cabinet resolutions, the new rules will take effect from December 16 and will remain in place for one month but may be reviewed at any time.

“The new Covid-19 preventive measures announced by Cabinet are intended to contain the spread of Omicron. The variant has shown to spread rapidly,” Health Minister Daniel Ngamije said in an announcement released Tuesday.

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