Rwanda Cancels Weddings As COVID-19 Cases Surge

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A handout picture taken on March 11, 2021, and released by Urugwiro Village, the office of the President, shows Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame (L) receiving the first injection of the Covid-19 vaccine at King Faisal hospital in Kigali, Rwanda. (Photo by – / Urugwiro Village / AFP)

Rwanda on Monday announced fresh restrictions including a ban on weddings as it struggles to contain a surge in coronavirus infections.

“All social gatherings including celebrations of all kinds are prohibited,” a government statement said Monday evening. “Traditional, civil and religious weddings are suspended.”

Other measures due to come into force on Wednesday include the extension of a nationwide curfew, from 7 pm (1700 GMT) until 4 am, restrictions on movement between districts, and the suspension of air travel to neighbouring Uganda where coronavirus cases are spiralling.

“The public is reminded of the critical importance of complying with health measures including physical distancing, wearing face masks, and ensure hand hygiene. Penalties will be applied for non-compliance,” the statement said.

Rwanda has, up to now, avoided the worst of the pandemic by enforcing some of the strictest containment measures on the continent and implementing a rigorous regime of testing and contact tracing.

But over the last few weeks, cases have shot up with authorities counting 662 cases and seven deaths on Monday.

The country of 13 million people has registered a total of 31,435 positive cases and 388 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

A nationwide campaign aimed at vaccinating 60 percent of the population by next year has so far reached just three percent of the population.

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