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Rwanda reopens after 45-day coronavirus lockdown

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Rwanda has loosened restrictions after 45 days of coronavirus lockdown, even though a nationwide night-time curfew will be enforced and movement in and out of the capital, Kigali, is prohibited.

On Monday, BBC reported that the roads in Kigali were busy again, in a city considered to be a hotspot for infections. People are adhering to mandatory mask wearing and social distancing.

Many are happy that normal life has resumed but there is discontent that fares in public transport have been hiked after buses were ordered to carry half of their capacity to ensure social distancing.

Elise Mukamabano said the cost of a one-way 20km (12.4 miles) trip to Kigali, where she works in a restaurant, has doubled to 750 Rwandan francs ($0.90).

“It is another burden after more than one month stuck home earning nothing,” she told the BBC.

Aimé François Nduwumwe said he is excited to reopen his computer-selling business “after 45 hard days at home”.

“I am very happy, being out and able to hustle again is what matters most to me,” he said.

Bars, sports facilities, schools and churches remain closed.

Rwanda has so far recorded 259 coronavirus cases and no fatalities.

Rwanda announces plan to lift lockdown

Rwanda’s government has announced plans to partially ease strict measures imposed six weeks ago to stop the spread of coronavirus.

A highly awaited government announcement said the restrictions will be lifted from 4 May even though some measures will be maintained.

A curfew will be enforced from 20:00 local time (18:00GMT) to 05:00.

All schools will remain closed until September and border crossings will remain closed except for cargo and returning Rwandan citizens and legal residents.

Markets will reopen at half capacity, while hotels and restaurants will close by 19:00 local time. Sports facilities, gyms, bars, places of worship will remain closed, but individual sporting activities are allowed in open spaces.

Commuters will have to adhere to social distancing in public transport, but travel across provinces is not permitted.

Rwanda has so far confirmed 243 coronavirus cases, 84 of which were reported in the last seven days.

The ministry of health says the spike in cases is due to cargo truck drivers who were allowed in from Kenya and Tanzania.

Rwanda was the first sub-Sahara African country to enforce total lockdown measures in efforts to halt the spread of coronavirus.

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