Coronavirus Update: Places of Worship in Rwanda May Reopen in 15 days

Coronavirus UpdatePlaces of worship, religious wedding ceremonies as well as meetings and conferences in hotels are some of the services that are expected to resume as Rwanda continues to slowly reopen the economy, cautiously relaxing measures to contain New Coronavirus.

Ahead f opening, Religious organizations in Rwanda have been asked to make the necessary investment in Coronavirus Covid-19 preventive measures ahead of a possible reopening of places of worship in the next 15 days. The decision was announced in a statement from an extraordinary cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Tuesday, June 16 at Village Urugwiro. “Places of worship will remain closed. In the meantime investment in Covid-19 precautionary and preventive measures is encouraged to allow readiness for reopening within 15 days upon an epidemiological assessment,” reads parts of the statement.

Places of worship are among several activities whose operations were halted by the Covid-19 pandemic since mid-March. The resolution follows a recent set of guidelines pitched last week by the inter-religious council to Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), that places of worship would abide with to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in case they are given a green light to operate.

Normally, places of worship are known for attracting large crowds which, if not strictly regulated, would result in increased infections of this pandemic.

Religious weddings get greenlight as Places of Worship open in Rwanda 

The cabinet meeting also among others resolved that religious weddings will resume, but with attendance capped at 30 persons. According to the statement signed by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, the Ministry of Local Government will issue detailed guidelines in this regard.

Burial ceremonies will also continue to be observed, with the limited attendance of 30 as it has been with non-religious funeral activities which had already been permitted.

The western province districts of Rusizi and Rubavu will also remain closed to public transport as it has been while schools remain closed till September.

Bars and gaming activities too will remain closed as well as mass gatherings in public spaces and homes.

All measures adopted by the cabinet meeting are expected to be reviewed again in 15 days upon a health assessment.

Last week, the Rwanda Inter-Religious Council issued a statement indicating the precautionary measures places of worship are looking to implement in line with the prevention of COVID-19 as they prepared to reopen. Despite reopening tourism services with conditions, the country’s borders will remain closed except for cargo and goods as well as returning citizens who will continue to be subjected to mandatory quarantine in accordance with existing health guidelines.

In what is likely to be a huge relief for the hard-hit tourism and hospitality sector, tourism will reopen with precautionary measures while hotels and conference halls will be able to host meetings and conferences as long as they observe social distancing and hygiene measures.

The country continues to register slightly increased numbers of COVID-19 cases, mainly attributed to the Rusizi and Rusumo clusters as well as returning Rwandans which authorities are trying to contain as the government looks to resuscitate the economy. Rwanda currently has a total of 636 confirmed cases of whom 338 recovered and two succumbed to this pandemic.

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