In neighbouring Uganda, Kampala remains a ghost town with total public transport shut-down
Pure economic anguish in East Africa’s tinniest capital city Kigali is not about to ease for the long-suffering Rwandese. This is after President Paul Kagame insisted on extending the lock-down for another 5 days following the expiry of a 30-day shut down he had imposed earlier.
As the Rwandese gnash teeth in neighbours Uganda people there are not fairing any better, being confined to their houses for the last one month. Kampala city flanked by seven hills which founding president Milton Obote once described as a city of “7 rumours” a day, remains deserted with shops and businesses closed. The usually vibrant city is a “no drive’ zone to public transport, blamed for being “super spreaders” of Covid-19 infection.
This is despite the countries’ small number of infections and fatalities, raising questions on whether Covid-19 restrictions is being abused to serve political interests? The last time Kampala was completely deserted to this level was in April 1979 just before the fall of dictator Idi Amin to Tanzanian troops.
In Rwanda the government announced the extension of the current lockdown measures, prohibiting unnecessary movements in the capital city Kigali and eight districts, to consolidate gains in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths.
The measures which started from July 17 has been extended through July 27. Office of the Prime Minister said in a communique. “The decision by the government to extend the current lockdown for five more days will give us time to analyse the situation and consolidate what has been achieved in curbing the COVID-19 spread in our country,” Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre Sabin Nsanzimana said.
Currently, the majority of cases and deaths in Rwanda are related to the Delta variant, first detected in India, he said, adding that the government is focusing on securing vaccines to vaccinate at least 30 per cent of its population by the end of 2021. Under the lockdown, the public is not permitted to leave home except for essential services. The government also bans public transport, except for the transportation of people who “carry out” essential services, while motorcycles and bicycles will not be allowed to carry passengers. Outdoor sports and recreational activities will be prohibited. Public and private offices and businesses are required to close unless they provide essential services. Schools and higher education institutions are also closed.
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