At least 230 people were apprehended in separate Police operations conducted in City of Kigali on Saturday and Sunday after they were found drinking and holding prohibited events.
The operations aimed at implementing national directives meant to curb further spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Rwanda National Police (RNP) Spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera said that 103 violators were found and apprehended at Landmark Suites located in Kagugu cell, Kinyinya Sector of Gasabo District on Sunday at about 1am, drinking.
“At about 1:00am on Sunday, Police received information about a large group of young people, who were gathered at Landmark Suites drinking.
Police officers were deployed and managed to arrest 103 people, most of them drunk, and took them to ULK ground in Gisozi. Many other violators, who were there also drinking managed to escape during the operation,” CP Kabera said.
The hospitality establishment had the previous day on Saturday hosted a wedding party. It is said that some of the invitees stayed back drinking, after the party ended.
“It was a big gathering at the time when everyone was supposed to be home. It is so unfortunate that after about nine months of awareness on the pandemic and prevention directives, we can still witness such serious violations,” CP Kabera emphasised.
Local authorities have since closed the hospitality establishment.
Meanwhile, 73 other violators were found drinking at a bar located in Kimironko Sector also in Gasabo District, and taken to Amahoro stadium
Other 58 were caught in Nyamirambo, Nyarugenge District including 10, who were found holding a birthday party in a home that had also been turned into a bar. They were taken to Kigali stadium.
The stadiums and other designated sites are used to control movements during prohibited movements hours (10pm to 4am) but also to educate those caught in varied violations on the pandemic, government directives as well as safety guidelines.
All the implicated hospitality facilities were closed in addition to fines applied to owners and all those caught in the violations.
CP Kabera warned owners and employees of hospitality establishments as well as the general public against breaching prevention directives and guidelines, putting other people at the risk of contracting COVID-19.
“Such inappropriate human behaviours can be the source of further spread of COVID-19 with the risk of taking Rwanda back to bad days of the pandemic including the lockdown. No one wants that, which means it is the responsibility of everyone to report such violations happening in your neighbourhoods or whenever you witness such,” CP Kabera said.
As the government continues to ease and open some of the services, CP Kabera warned that this should not be perceived as an opportunity to operate beyond set safety guidelines but rather a moment to operate with “maximum compliance.”
“COVID-19 is still amongst us and it is spread by the people. We still see new infections and sadly, some people have succumbed to the virus. So, whatever you do and wherever you are running your errands, remember that you can be the source or someone next to you can infect you.
Avoid unnecessary movements, go home early, wear a facemask, wash or sanitize your hands regularly, observe physical distancing, avoid unnecessary or prohibited gatherings and report violators. Fighting COVID-19 is the responsibility of everyone through maximum compliance and reporting violations.”