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17 Apr 2020 | 10:46 PM UTC

Rwanda: Nationwide lockdown extended until April 30 /update 5

Rwanda extends nationwide lockdown until April 30 to prevent further spread of COVID-19; follow all government directives



On Friday, April 17, Rwandan authorities announced an extension of a nationwide lockdown, and restrictive measures will remain in place through until April 30. Non-essential shops and markets will remain closed, while all non-essential travel between cities and districts and unnecessary movement outside the home will also be banned. Businesses selling food items, fuel, as well as hygiene and cleaning products will remain open.

Public transport is also not operational, except for taxis if they are used for essential journeys.

Rwanda's borders are closed except for goods and cargo, along with returning citizens and legal residents who will be subject to a 14-day quarantine at designated locations.

As of April 17, authorities have confirmed at least 143 cases of COVID-19 nationwide, with no 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.