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05 Nov 2020 | 10:20 AM UTC

Rwanda: Authorities reopen land border at Goma (DRC) on November 5 /update 18

Rwandan authorities reopen land border at Goma (DRC) on November 5; follow official directives

entry/exit
health
transportation
RWA

Event

Rwandan authorities partially reopened the country's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) city of Goma on Thursday, November 5, in the first easing of land crossings since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in March. The reopening will allow for small-scale traders to resume business on both sides of the border provided they have valid passports and follow health protocols, including rapid COVID-19 tests before being permitted to cross. The move follows a memorandum of understanding signed by officials from Rwanda's Western Province and DRC's North Kivu Province on Monday, November 2. 

Previously, the government extended the country's COVID-19 restrictions until November 11. This includes the nationwide overnight curfew in effect from 22:00 - 04:00 (local time). However, church wedding ceremonies and burials can now host a maximum of 75 people, up from the previous limit of 30. Public institutions are now also allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity, up from 30 percent.

International commercial flights from Kigali International Airport (KGL) resumed on August 1 amid the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions. All travelers entering the country are required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from within 120 hours prior to their departure to the country. Travelers will also be required to enter into temporary quarantine at a government-designated hotel and take a second COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arrival, with onward travel within the country being authorized after confirmation of a negative test result. COVID-19 screening will also be in place for those leaving the country, with travelers displaying symptoms being prevented from boarding their flight and quarantined at an isolation facility until they can take a COVID-19 test.

Travelers must also present a negative COVID-19 test result in order to enter any of the country's national parks, which have reopened for both international and domestic tourism.

As of Wednesday, November 5, health authorities have confirmed a total of 5174 COVID-19 cases in Rwanda, with 35 associated deaths. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

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