Rwanda has barred direct flights to and from nine countries in southern Africa, joining a growing list of nations that have imposed travel restrictions over a new, heavily mutated Covid-19 variant, Omicron.
Omicron was first reported in South Africa last week, with cases subsequently detected in several countries, and many governments have moved swiftly to reimpose containment measures.
Direct flights between Rwanda and southern Africa will be temporarily suspended “effective immediately,” Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente announced late Sunday, noting that the variant was yet to be detected in the country.
The countries affected by the ban are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
All passengers who have arrived from those countries in the past seven days have to spend a week in quarantine, at their own costs, in designated hotels in Rwanda, according to the announcement.
Rwanda, a country of 13 million people, will also reimpose a mandatory 24-hour quarantine for all passengers.