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Rwanda allows church services, weddings as it eases Covid rules

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By Ange Iliza

Rwanda has eased Covid-19 restrictions after a gradual a drop in infections with the positivity rate dropping from 10 to 4 percent.

This has been attributed to the strict measures the country imposed, including lockdowns.

The review of Covid-19 measures comes a week after the country resumed mass inoculation. Vaccinations had slowed down due to limited doses, but the country acquired more doses last week and expects to receive more vaccines soon.

Last week, Rwanda surpassed half a million people fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The nationwide vaccination campaign that kicked off on August 2, raised the number of fully vaccinated people to 680,470, as of Tuesday.

A Cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Wednesday revised curfew hours which will now begin at 8pm and end at 4am, a move that will allow businesses to operate until 7pm. Previously, curfew hours began at 6pm and businesses were not allowed to operate past 5pm.

Restaurants are now allowed to operate with a maximum 30 percent of their occupancy and hotels will be allowed to host physical meetings not exceeding 30 percent of the venue’s capacity. Covid-19 tests will be mandatory for all meeting participants. Places of worship will resume services with no more than 30 percent of their capacity.

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Civil, religious and traditional marriage ceremonies will resume with 50 people allowed to attend physically.

The new guidelines will take effect on August 12 until September 1.

Arriving and departing passengers at Kigali International Airport shall present Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure.

People above the age of 40, and pregnant and breastfeeding women are now among the priority groups for vaccination.

As of August 10, Rwanda had a death toll of 911 people and 41 patients were in critical condition. In 77,107 tests taken in the last seven days, 4,649 people tested positive.

Rwanda plans to vaccinate 1.5 million people by September and 60 percent of its 12.6 million population by June 2022. The country needs 13 million doses of the vaccine to attain its goal.

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