On Wednesday, April 1, Rwandan authorities announced a 15-day extension of a nationwide lockdown, which was originally declared on Saturday, March 21. All lockdown measures will continue to remain in place, including the closure of borders to foreign nationals until 23:59 (local time), Sunday, April 19. The border closure does not apply to cargo. Returning Rwandans will be allowed to cross the border but will be subject to a 14-day quarantine at designated locations. In addition, schools and religious institutions will continue to remain suspended. Non-essential shops and markets are to be closed, while all non-essential travel between cities and districts and unnecessary movement outside the home is banned. Businesses selling food items, fuel, as well as hygiene and cleaning products will remain open.
As of April 1, authorities have confirmed at least 82 cases of COVID-19 nationwide, including six fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
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). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
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 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.