East Africa

Rwanda resumes fights to southern Africa

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By Ange Iliza

Rwanda has resumed flights to southern Africa as it enforces strict preventive measures and Covid-19 vaccine mandates to curb the spread of the new Omicron variant.

Kigali says passengers arriving from the region must present a PCR negative test taken within 72 hours before arrival. Travellers will also be required to quarantine for three days and take tests on the third and seventh days after arrival.

The measures take effect on Monday, December 20.

Locally, Rwanda has banned entertainment events, including live bands, concerts and nightclubs. Bars will be required to close by 8 pm, and the curfew time has been expanded from midnight to 10 pm. Businesses will now close at 9 pm from 11 pm.

The new guidelines come just days to Christmas and the New Year.

Weddings, gatherings and conferences will only be allowed with a limited number of people.


The government has warned sanctions on those who fail to comply with the new measures.

Rwanda was among the first countries last month to ban travellers from southern African countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, following the detection of the new Covid-19 variant in South Africa.

Kigali also imposed vaccine mandates with access to public offices, transport, hotels, and churches restricted to full vaccination proof.

In recent weeks, Rwanda, like most countries in the region, has seen a resurgence of caseloads, with the positivity rate rising from 0.1 percent to 1.3 percent in days.

Rwanda recorded six cases of the Omicron variant while new virus infections have been rising. About 49 patients are hospitalised.

By Sunday, the country had fully vaccinated 4.8 million people, while another 7.2 million had received the first dose of the vaccine. 47,542 people had also received their booster shots.

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