Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest (Discontinued on 31 Aug 2020)

Situation Report
Rwanda — Trends

International flights resume on 1 August

  • First case: 14 March

  • Total cases: 2,042 (as of 1 August 2020)

  • Total deaths: 5

  • Schools: Closed (3.4 million learners affected).

  • Borders/flights: Commercial flight operations (closed since 20 March, except for cargo) resumed on 1 August. Domestic travels allowed since 1 June

  • Containment measures: Daily curfew from 9 p.m, to 5 a.m.


COVID-19 cases in Rwanda have more than doubled in a month from 900 confirmed cases with two deaths on 28 June to over 2,000 cases and five deaths as of 1 August. On 16 July, the Government eased the lockdown on Rusizi District in the south-western region bordering the DRC, which had been in place since 18 June, following an improvement in the contention of the COVID-19 pandemic in the area, according to the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre. Travel to Rusizi from other parts of the country is however still prohibited, except for cargo and all transport of goods. Kicukiro District remains under lockdown. The Inter-religious Council and Rwanda Governance Board has issued guidelines for the reopening of places of worship, including the need to have hand sanitizers, thermometers and measures to uphold the use of face masks. Public and private businesses will continue to operate, with only essential staff going to the office. International flights, which were suspended on 20 March, resumed on 1 August. All arriving international passengers, including transit passengers, will be required to present proof of a COVlD-19 negative test from a certified laboratory, taken within 72 hours of arriving in Rwanda, while passengers entering Rwanda, will undergo a second polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival, with results delivered within 24 hours, during which time they will remain in designated hotels at their own cost. Schools will reopen open in September as earlier scheduled.

On 18 May, the daily curfew was reduced, starting from 9 p.m., instead of the previous 8 p.m., and finishing at 5 a.m..Civil weddings have also been allowed with maximum 15 attendees. From 1 June, motorcycle taxis are allowed to resume services and restrictions on cross-provincial movements have also been lifted, subject to adherence to strict COVID-19 guidelines. Preventive measures such as wearing face masks and keeping a one-metre distance from people remain mandatory.

There were reports of violence by security forces against people who allegedly violated the lockdown regulations. Some businesses have also been fined for selling commodities at higher prices during this pandemic period.


  • The Government announced a social protection plan to support vulnerable people across the country during the lockdown, with door to door provision of foodstuffs and groceries to vulnerable homes since 28 March.

  • In July, UNFPA donated surgical masks and googles for health workers.

Official sources:

Ministry of Health Official Twitter and Ministry of Health COVID-19 webpage

Rwanda Biomedical Centre Twitter

Other links:

BBC Rwanda COVID-19 coverage

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF