By Myket Enoth Kwizera
Rwanda has announced the partial opening of its economy for some services to resume.
While hotels, public and private business will resume activities on May 4, churches , bars, gyms and recreational centers will remain closed. Schools will also remain closed until September 2020.
In a cabinet memo published on April 30, the eve of the expiry of total lockdown measures, Kigali says private, and public businesses can open but with essential staff while others work from home. Hotels and restaurants will operate up to 7 pm.
Markets will also open but only have 50 percent of the vendors. Private and public transport will resume within the same province but is banned when moving out to other provinces.
Also opened are bus services, but they will have to maintain social distancing and only allow people with masks onboard. Although funerals will continue, they will be restricted to only 30 people.
Motorcycles and bicycles will also not carry passengers but carry goods. Also, sports activities for individuals will be allowed although sports facilities like stadiums will remain closed.
Borders are closed except for goods.
Rwanda’s partial opening is partly because countries around the world are accepting the bitter fact that it may take longer than expected to wipe out the virus or that they will have to devise means to work even when cases are being reported.
Rwanda announced 18 new cases on Thursday to bring the national tally to 243. The country says its biggest challenge remains the cross-border truck drivers.
Countries that have lifted some of their lockdown measures like Ghana and South Africa have seen a slight surge in positive cases, an indicator that as countries open up, they should brace for that scenario.
Coronavirus pandemic has battered economies of countries with millions of people losing jobs and a couple of companies expected to fold.
Uganda is expected to partially lift lockdown measures next week if majority of tests from the community continue to be negative.