Rwanda has temporarily suspended direct flights with southern African countries due to concerns over the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

This was contained in cabinet communique issued by the office of the prime minister on Monday.

The decision was taken after an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Rwanda’s response to the Omicron variant chaired by President Paul Kagame, according to the communique.
“While the variant has not been detected in Rwanda, its effects are potentially dangerous and, therefore, Rwandans and residents of Rwanda are required to exercise extra vigilance in the practice and enforcement of preventive measures,” the communique said.

A seven-day quarantine at own cost will be required for passengers travelling from, or those with a recent history of travelling to, the affected countries, it said.
All arriving passengers must quarantine for 24 hours at a designated hotel at their own cost, it added.

According to the communique, a COVID-19 PCR test will be taken upon arrival at own cost, and an additional test, covered by the government of Rwanda, taken on day seven from the arrival date at a designated testing site.
People attending events or gatherings, including conferences, concerts, weddings and festivals or exhibitions, must be fully vaccinated and tested, the communique said.

It added that gatherings should take place outdoors or in well ventilated spaces as much as possible.
It also urged Rwandans to get fully vaccinated, frequently tested and continue being vigilant in practicing COVID-19 preventive measures.

In October, Rwanda removed quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in the country. (Xinhua/NAN)