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Kigali Lockdown Extended As COVID-19 Cases Surge

Kigali City
Written by See Africa Today

The Rwanda government has extended the lockdown imposed in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city in a bid to tame the spread of COVID-19.

A Cabinet resolution on Monday allowed the extension of Kigali City lockdown from February 8 to February 22.

In a statement, the Paul Kagame-led government said that no one is allowed to be out after 7 pm. The dusk to dawn curfew ends at 1 am.

Besides, all public schools and universities in Kigali will remain closed indefinitely while all public offices remain closed.

Also read:How Rwanda Is Protecting Endangered Mountain Gorillas In Covid-19 Era

“All schools (public and private) including universities will remain closed,” part of the statement read.

It added: “Public offices will be closed. All employees shall work from home, except for those providing essential services.

This is a big blow to tourism in Rwanda where Kigali is at the heart of it all. In the new measures approved by the Cabinet, the movement to and from Kigali from other provinces remains prohibited.

Although tourists are allowed together with essential services providers, they are required to take a fresh COVID-19 test upon arrival to Kigali. With movement curtailed and most people remaining indoors, there is nothing much to enjoy in Kigali.

Kigali city has a lot that attracts tourists. From the gorgeous boulevard along the streets of the city to a well-maintained park within the city; it is a place you want to visit under without limited movement.

It also boasts of the Rwanda Art Museum that showcases the rich heritage of the “land of a thousand hills” as it is known.

Data by Rwanda Development Board released in July 2020 showed that Rwanda received one million tourists every year, a huge percentage of them visiting Kigali before heading out to Volcanoes National Park for Mountain Gorilla escapades.

The lockdown in Kigali is likely to slow down the implementation of a plan between Kenya and Rwanda in promoting tourism in both countries.

Also read:Rwanda’s Bisate Lodge Named Among World Most Luxurious Eco-Friendly Hotels

This new arrangement will front both Kenya and Rwanda as the main tourism players in East Africa by marketing them as top tourist destinations in the world.

On the table, both countries through respective representative bodies will address challenges dogging the sector and come up with solutions to solve them with the aim of strengthening tourism.

The teams will conduct a joint marketing campaign pegged in tour and travel in the region.

The private sector will also have a stake when it comes to promotional tours of the key tourist attraction spots in Kenya and Rwanda.

When it comes to packaging, the tour operators will have to sell the two countries as a package. The calendar of events will be shared between both countries to create harmony in the agreement.

RwandAir will assist the team on familiarization trips to Rwanda from Kenya free air tickets, Robert Okumu who heads the airline in Kenya said.

For regular passengers, RwandAir will have discounted airfare for Kenyans travelling to Rwanda for tourism purposes.

On the other hand, Kenya’s COVID-19 status are edging closer to “safe” as the number of new infections and deaths has decreased in the last two months.

Tourism is expected to peak once more should the cases remain low. Kenya’s travel regulations for international travellers is also likely to attract more tourists to visit.

Upon arrival in Kenya, all the tourists need to show is a PCR-based COVID-19 test done within the last 72 hours before arrival.

No quarantine is required as is the case with some other countries unless you have tested positive or are from “red list” countries where the number of COVID-19 infections remains high.

Since the pandemic struck the Ministry of Tourism in Kenya headed by CS Najib Balala has made tremendous steps in bringing the sector back to life.

Domestic tourism hit an all-time high as Kenyans moved to celebrate the Christmas holiday. International tourists’ numbers remained low over the season due to travel restrictions imposed by foreign governments and airlines.

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