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31 mai 2020 | 15h50 UTC

Rwanda: First COVID-19 fatality reported in country May 31 /update 7

Rwanda Alerte de sécurité

Rwandan authorities confirm the country's first death connected to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on May 31; further spread of the virus expected in the near term

TIMEFRAME expected from 31/5/2020, 12h00 until 7/6/2020, 11h59 (Africa/Kigali). COUNTRY/REGION Rwanda

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Rwanda's Ministry of Health confirmed the country's first death connected to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on Sunday, May 31. The victim was reportedly a 65-year-old male who had opted to return home from a neighboring country, where he resided, after falling severely ill; he later died in a specialized COVID-19 facility. 

On May 4, some businesses were allowed to resume operations and movement restrictions were eased. The updated measures include:

  • Movement between 20:00 and 05:00 (local time) is prohibited.
  • Masks must be worn in public at all times.
  • Public and private businesses can resume work but only with essential staff.
  • Hotels and restaurants can operate but must be closed at 19:00.
  • Public and private transportation will resume only within the same province.
  • Individuals sporting activity is allowed in open spaces, but facilities, gyms, and recreation centers remain closed.

All bars, schools, universities, and places of worship will remain closed. Public meetings in public spaces and mass gatherings are prohibited. Transport between some provinces and the city of Kigali is still restricted and Rwanda's borders remain closed except for goods and cargo. Returning citizens and legal residents will be subject to a 14-day quarantine at designated locations.

As of May 31, health authorities have confirmed 359 cases of the virus nationwide and one associated death. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures: 

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands. 
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.


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