Rwanda’s national carrier RwandAir will only operate cargo flights from Kigali to Dubai following an extended ban by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to passengers from several countries, including Kenya and Uganda.
However, the airline will continue to transport passengers leaving Dubai.
“Following the temporary suspension of the Dubai route, please note that RwandAir is now operating Cargo only flights from Kigali to Dubai on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday,” reads an announcement from RwandAir sent to its customers on January 4.
The airline currently offers services to 25 destinations across 21 countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
The move is the latest restriction on global travel by UAE aimed at limiting the spread of Covid-19 in the wake of the new Omicron variant. Dubai recently imposed travel restrictions on direct flights from other countries, including Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
Under the new measures, travellers from Africa are required to provide a PCR test result conducted at the airport six hours before departure for Dubai and self-quarantine until they receive a negative Covid-19 test certificate issued within 48 hours of arrival in Dubai.
Currently, a certificate of a negative Covid-19 test is required for all travellers arriving, transiting, or departing from Rwanda. The only accepted test is a PCR test performed within 72 hours of departure time. Other tests such as Rapid Tests are not accepted.
Rwanda has had its share of a spike in Covid-19 infections over the last few weeks. The infection rate jumped from less than 1 percent in November to the current 7.2 percent.
The World Health Organization (WHO) labels a country to be a high risk if the positivity rate rises above five percent and advises countries to consider restrictions if it remains above the limit for at least 14 days.
The highest number of infections in Rwanda since the pandemic hit was on December 30, when the country recorded more than 2,000 cases in one day out of over 22,000 tests carried out.
Rwanda has put efforts into vaccinating as many people as possible and giving booster shots.
5.5 million people out of the 9.1 million target population are currently fully vaccinated and 7.7 million have received their first jab.