As of 1st March 2021, Rwanda has recorded 18,986 positive cases, 17,322 of whom have recovered. The recovery rate is 91.2%. Active cases are given at 1,400, and there have been 267 deaths have been recorded to date.
Kigali airport is open, and passengers are required to have received a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure to Kigali (the requirement was previously 120 hours).
If anyone tests positive for COVID-19, the severity of symptoms determine whether someone will be isolated in a government-run treatment center, a hotel (at the person’s expense) or at home, subject to Ministry of Health approval.
Masks/face coverings are required in public places.
Nationwide restrictions 23 February – 15 March 2021:
Movement is prohibited between 8:00pm and 4:0am, with all businesses having to close by 6:00pm daily, including restaurants. Restaurants are permitted to continue providing takeaways/food deliveries until 8:00pm. Bars will remain closed.
Markets and malls can continue for essential vendors and must not exceed 50 percent of registered traders. Restaurants, cafés and places of worship are all limited to 30 percent occupancy. Public transport is limited to 75 percent capacity.
All schools (public and private) and universities can stay open.
Travel between Kigali and other provinces and districts is not permitted, except for essential services and tourism (tourists must possess a negative Covid-19 test result).
Impact on our work
Due to these restrictions, our partner’s counsellors cannot conduct group counselling, and are conducting phone-based counselling, which was introduced during the first wave of the pandemic. The counsellors and peer support counsellors are also receiving phone-based supervision from a professional counsellor. It is hoped movement restrictions will be lifted after 15th March.
Rwanda received 240,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with a further 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, via the global COVAX facility on 3rd March 2021, Vaccines are now being distributed around the country, including by helicopter to the remoter areas. Rwanda is the first African nation to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which requires additional infrastructure to store it at the required temperature of -70 degrees Celsius. Rwanda is prioritising healthworkers first for vaccinations, and aims to vaccinate 30% of its 12 million population by the end of 2021, and 60% by the end of 2022.
As of 11th March, Uganda has had 40,464 Covid-19 cases, with 15,065 confirmed recoveries and 334 deaths.
Entebbe International Airport is open to commercial travel, and all arrivals must present a negative Covid-19 test result within 120 hours of arriving in Uganda, with positive cases required to self-isolate. A curfew remains in place from 9:00pm to 6:00am. Everyone over 6 years old is required to wear a mask in public places and on public transport, and the Ministry of Health recommends social distancing and regular handwashing.
Impact on our work
The Covid-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions delayed the distribution of livelihood inputs to the self-help groups that our partners BNUU are supporting in Agago district during 2020. However, as of March 2021, distribution is currently taking place, and beneficiaries are excited for the new opportunities that this will bring to reduce their poverty and boost their long term recovery. The pandemic has led to many to opt to include soap in the products that they have chosen to trade as their livelihood activity, due to its increased demand.
Uganda received its first delivery of Covid-19 vaccines – on 5th March 2021– 864,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine via the COVAX facility. Health workers are being prioritised for vaccination in Uganda first, followed by security personnel, teachers, humanitarian front-line workers, and people above 50 years with underlying conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart, kidney, or liver disease. A further 2,688,000 doses are committed by COVAX to Uganda (population 44 million) by July 2021.
In addition, Uganda has received a direct donation of 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from India on 7th March 2021.
As of 4th March 2021, Ministry of Health and Sanitation data showed there had been a total of 3,900 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Sierra Leone, with 2,655 recoveries and 79 deaths. Of the four Mano River Union Countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone), Sierra Leone has the fewest current confirmed Covid-19 cases per capita.
There was an increase in the infection rate from mid-December 2020 to early February 2021 – prompting the introduction of travel restrictions between Freetown and the rest of the country for two weeks from late January. However, the rate transmission rate has subsided again, and in early February this restriction was lifted. A nationwide night time curfew has also been in place since January 2021, and has since been adjusted and now applies from 12:00am to 5:00am.
Sports without spectators are allowed, schools are open, and religious services are permitted for up to 90 minutes at a time. Facemasks remain mandatory on public transportation, and in public spaces.
Freetown International Airport has been open again since the end of July 2020, with arriving passengers required to hold a negative PCR Covid-19 test result issued no longer than 72 hours prior to departure, and undergo an additional PCR swab test and RDT test upon arrival – with mandatory quarantine at an airport hotel for positive cases.
Our team in Port Loko district still wear masks for all engagements and activities with beneficiaries and other stakeholders, whether in the office or in the field, and conducts regular handwashing. They also continue to encourage all beneficiaries to do the same. To everyday Sierra Leoneans, the economic impacts of the pandemic have been its most significant effects to date. It has also had an impact on wider health, and health service access – with a drop in the number of parents taking their children to receive childhood immunisations for fear of the Covid-19 virus as well as misconceptions and rumours regarding the coronavirus vaccine which has spilled over to attitudes to other immunisations.
The latest Covid-19 situation reports for Sierra Leone are available here.
On 8th March, Sierra Leone received its first delivery of a Covid-19 vaccine – 96,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured in India – via the COVAX programme. There is a commitment to provide 528,000 doses to Sierra Leone (population 8 million) during 2021. COVAX has also been supporting Sierra Leone with logistical preparations such as cold-chain infrastructure, and stockpiling of syringes and safe disposal boxes. Sierra Leone is prioritising health workers and people over 70 years old first in its first phase of vaccine rollout, followed by other essential workers such as military, police personnel, and teachers in the second phase. Sierra Leone has additionally received 200,000 doses of the SinoPharm vaccine, donated by China.
Many Sierra Leoneans, such as our beneficiaries, responded with fear to the news in February of an Ebola outbreak in neighbouring Guinea – N’Zerekore, in the east of the country – the first since the world’s deadliest Ebola epidemic ended in West Africa in 2016. Port Loko was one of the worst affected districts in Sierra Leone during the 2014-16 outbreak, and many Sierra Leoneans still live with the trauma of that period. Ebola vaccinations are underway in the affected area of Guinea, increased surveillance measures have been announced on the Guinea-Sierra Leone border. No cases have so far been discovered beyond Guinea.
UNICEF has an online tracker tool for COVAX deliveries worldwide.