Rwanda: Places of Worship, Schools Closed to Counter Coronavirus

The government of Rwanda has rolled tough measures aimed at combating Coronavirus, restricting public gatherings and travel.

Rwanda confirmed its first case on Saturday.

The virus was brought into the country by an Indian man who flew in from Mumbai on Sunday, March 8.

“The patient had no symptoms upon arrival in Rwanda and reported himself to a health facility on March 13th where he was immediately tasted,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday morning.

“He is currently under treatment in stable condition, isolated from other patients.”

Rwanda now says new measures shall be observed for an initial period of two weeks in order to further strengthen the country’s ability to mitigate the risk of COVID19 coronavirus transmission.

Places of worship will be closed from Sunday 15 March 2020, with prayers to be conducted from home while schools and higher education institutions (both public and private) shall close on Monday 16 March 2020.

The Health Ministry said employees should be permitted to work from home wherever possible, in consultation with their employers and that large gatherings such as weddings and sporting events are to be postponed, and the number of people attending burial ceremonies should be minimized.


As of Thursday, there were nearly 125,000 cases in 118 countries and territories, according to World Health Organisation.


Rwandans have been advised that businesses and restaurants can continue to operate, but adequate distance between customers must be maintained (at least 1 meter).

Unnecessary movements will be avoided, and public transport must not be overcrowded.

Officials said hand hygiene and social distancing are the only effective methods of preventing transmission of coronavirus.

“Citizens are therefore reminded of the critical importance of frequent hand washing and of avoiding unnecessary physical contact with others,” said the Health Ministry in a statement issued Saturday night.

“Ordinary soap is the most effective product for hand-washing, followed by alcohol-based sanitizer. The use of face masks is only recommended for patients and those in direct contact with patients.”

Any person with the classic symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus (dry cough, high fever) is expected to stay at home and call the toll-free number 114 for further guidance, or consult a Community Health Worker.

Rwanda has become the second country after Kenya to confirm a coronavirus case in East Africa.

Common signs of Coronavirus infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.

People are advised to avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

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