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Rwanda to reopen airports on August 1: ministry

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Rwanda on Saturday announced that its airports will reopen for scheduled commercial flight operations at the start of August.

In March, Rwanda suspended all incoming and outgoing commercial passenger flights, only allowing cargo and emergency flights to operate, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the Ministry of Infrastructure said that all passengers, including those in transit, will be required to show proof of a COVID-19 PCR negative test from a certified laboratory. The papers of tests must indicate that they were taken within 72 hours of arrival in Rwanda.

“To ensure the safety and health of passengers, crew and staff, airport operations will adhere to guidelines developed by the Ministry of Health and recommendations of the ICAO Council on Aviation Recovery Taskforce,” the statement said.

The ministry added that passengers coming into Rwanda will have a second PCR test done on them. The results will be made available to them within a day during which they will board at designated hotels at their own cost.

The news is the latest move by Rwanda to gradually reopen its economy following an announcement in mid-June that saw the re-opening of tourism activities and a resumption of international travel for charter flights. At that time, too, the Rwanda Airports Company also opened up the Kigali International Airport for private and chartered flights.

The announcement will be welcome news to the national carrier, RwandAir, which was also adversely affected by the disruption of air travel. In April, RwandAir announced that it will slash the net salaries of its staff by between 8 percent and 65 percent as part of measures to cushion it from the adverse effects of the pandemic.

Rwanda’s long-term vision is to become a regional aviation hub for both passengers and cargo in the region.

According to the Africa CDC, Rwanda has reported 1,063 confirmed cases, three deaths and 493 recoveries, as of July 3.

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