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Rwanda extends lockdown over capital Kigali

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Rwanda’s capital city will remain locked down for seven more days, the government said on Tuesday.

“To further contain the spread of the pandemic, the cabinet extended existing measures countrywide including the current lockdown in the City of Kigali from February 3rd through 7th,” read part of the statement released by the Prime Minister’s office.

Businesses will now reopen on February 8 under strict guidelines as the government moves to ease the current measures. A ban on public transport will also be lifted.

Kigali was shut down two weeks ago owing to a surge in infections.

At the time, health authorities reported that the city of 1.5 million accounted for over 60 percent of confirmed cases since the start of the year.

While the capital continues as the leading Covid-19 hotspot, numbers from the rest of the country have reportedly slowed down.

As of Tuesday, February 2, the national positive rate stood at 5.4 percent, down from 7.5 before the lockdown.

“We have started to see a difference in Covid-19 numbers from before the lockdown and its first week. We are positive that after one more week, the impact will have been amplified,” said health minister Dr Daniel Ngamije.

Vaccines on the way

The east African country expects its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines to arrive later this month.

According to an interim distribution forecast published by the Global Vaccines Alliance (Gavi) on Wednesday, Rwanda will receive 102,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 996,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The vaccines will come from COVAX, a WHO-backed facility that aims to ensure equitable access to vaccines for developing countries.

First inoculations will target health workers, people with underlying conditions, and the elderly.

The country aims to vaccinate up to 60 percent of its 12.6 million people.

Rwanda has recorded 15,688 Covid-19 cases since March, with 205 deaths.