KIGALI, Rwanda

Rwanda on Monday reversed its earlier decision to further ease restrictions after new coronavirus cases were reported in its western town bordering Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Of the 11 COVID-19 cases reported in the country on Sunday, five were registered in the border district of Rusizi.

The government said it will now maintain ban on the movement in and out of the capital Kigali, as well as operations of commercial motorcycles which was due to resume on June 1.

Rwanda has so far reported 370 COVID-19 cases. The landlocked country in the East Africa reported first death due to pandemic on Saturday.

“Efforts are being done to trace all the contacts of patients in Rusizi district, in the meantime there is need to reinforce strict prevention measures and restrict non-essential movements,” Rwandan Health Minister Daniel Ngamije said.

The decision to extend restrictions attracted mixed reactions, with some people expressing frustration.

“I don’t have any money left to sustain myself in Kigali and I want to return to my village,” a young woman who gave her name only as Jeannette told Anadolu Agency, from Kigali’s Nyabugogo bus terminal.

She lost her hair dressing job after her employer retrenched staff after lockdown was eased on May 4.

She had gone out very early to book her ticket to Musanze district, 61 miles away from the capital city Kigali.

Dozens of people hit by economic hardship sparked by coronavirus went out early to board bus to leave the city.

“I have no other business in town after we stopped working more than two months ago. There’s nothing to eat and pay rent,” a motorcycle rider who identified himself as Jean Pierre said.

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