Rwanda suspends flights from Southern Africa

by | Dec 1, 2021 | COVID 19, International | 0 comments

 

Hosia Mviringi

Rwanda has suspended all passenger flights originating from all Southern African countries citing fears associated with the newly discovered Covid-19 variant Omicron.

Speaking in a communique after an extraordinary Cabinet meeting which was chaired by President Paul Kagame, the country’s Prime Minister, Dr Edouard Ngirente suspended all flights with immediate effect until further notice..

“An Extraordinary meeting was chaired by His Excellency Paul Kagame today (yesterday) to discuss the Rwanda’s response to the Covid-19 Omicron variant which has been designated a Variant of Concern by the World Health Organisation. While the variant has not been detected in Rwanda, its effects are potentially dangerous, therefore Rwandans and residents of Rwanda are required to exercise extra vigilance in the practice and enforcement of preventive measures,” he said.

 

As part of a coterie of responsive measures, all arriving international passengers into Kigali must present a Covid-19 negative PCR test that is not more than 72 hours, and undergo mandatory quarantine for 24 hours at designated hotels at own cost.

All passengers arriving into Rwanda from affected countries are to undergo mandatory seven day quarantine at designated hotels at own cost.

 

Rwanda becomes the first African country to join European countries in imposing travel restrictions to nationals from Southern African countries including those that have not been affected by the variant as yet.

Africa is having to face fresh disruptions to business and trade when all signs were beginning to point to potential economic recovery.

Such countries as Zimbabwe were beginning to see an upward economic growth projections following relaxation of lockdown measures in the second quarter of this year.

Fears are that the imminent hard lockdowns across Africa will plunge the fragile economies into unfamiliar territories which could trigger industry closures and massive job losses.

 

Analysts and commentators have condemned latest travel restrictions describing them as knee jerk, reactionary and more political than scientific.

Such countries as Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, eSwatini, Lesotho and Malawi have been included on the international red list despite having no recorded cases of the variant yet.

 

The latest actions by Rwanda has immediately seen the two countries counting loses as it has resulted in an unplanned cancellation of the Rwanda – Zimbabwe Business Conference which was set to be hosted by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries in Harare on November 29, 2021.

 

Zimbabwe and Rwanda have struck a code of cooperation in the fields of education, agriculture, training and industry which is expected to see an improvement in trade and people to people relations.