Covid-19: Rwanda reverses plan to ease lockdown

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Rwandan Police enforcing a coronavirus lockdown

Rwanda has reversed its planned easing of coronavirus restrictions on Monday, after recording the first death from the virus and a rise in new cases.

Travel between provinces, including movement in and out of the capital, Kigali, was scheduled to resume on 1 June after more than two months.

Motorcycle taxi operators, estimated to number about 50,000, were also set to return to the roads.

But in a tweet, the prime minister’s office announced that “further measures will be announced on 2 June”.

The decision was met with backlash on Twitter.

The health minister told Rwanda’s broadcasting agency that the decision was because of the new cases reported in the western Rusizi district.

On Sunday, Rwanda recorded 11 new cases on the same day the first casualty was buried in the outskirts of Kigali.

The victim, identified as Gisaka Hassan, 65, was a Rwandan lorry driver who became sick while in Benako in Tanzania. He returned to Rwanda on 28 May in a critical condition, according to local media.

Two opposition parties in Rwanda, PS-Imberakuri and Dalfa-Umurinzi, have released a statement asking the government to lift all restrictions because they “deprive Rwandans of their rights to movement, worship, working to survive, wedding and entertainment”.

Rwanda has so far reported 370 cases, 256 recoveries and one death.