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CORONA VIRUS

MTN Rwanda Ramps Up Efforts to Support Communities In The Fight Against Covid-19 

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MTN Rwanda has announced that is has put in place additional interventions to support the Government’s efforts to communicate and raise awareness on precautionary measures to prevent and contain the spread of Covid-19.

Driven by the belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life, MTN has rolled out a series of mobile connectivity, digital and mobile fintech solutions for its communities.

“MTN’s priority is keeping people connected during this period. We need to play our part in the alleviation of the economic, social and educational impact through the support of key institutions such as Health, ICT and Education,” said MTN CEO, Mitwa Ng’ambi.

The company, through its Foundation, has donated Frw 10 million to Rwanda Biomedical Centre to support them as they work tirelessly to stop the spread of the virus and has offered free MTN calls among health workers for a period of 90 days.

MTN has also availed free media channel space (radio, TV, social media, SMS, Ring Back Tone, IVR platform) to promote the Ministry of Health’s sensitization messages.

In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of ICT and Innovation, MTN has made online access to Rwandan universities and school websites free to allow students to access in house learning materials.

Students can access https://elearning.reb.rw/, https://elearning.ur.ac.rw/ and https://elearning.rp.ac.rw/ at any time without consuming any data.

“We know how important it is to support continued learning for students during this period when institutions of learning are closed. To this end, we have zero-rated some educational websites to enable learners to access core curriculum materials and facilitate distance learning,” she added. 

In a bid to better serve customers in this period and beyond, MTN through its Digital platforms, recently announced that it has also increased the daily limit on Airtime Transfer (Me2U) from Rwf 3,000 to Rwf 6,000 as well as increased the airtime account balance limit from Rwf 500,000 to Rwf 1,000,000.

In cooperation with the Central Bank of Rwanda to drive cashless payments, MTN Rwanda recently waived fees on sending money to others, on all transactions from Banks to MoMo wallets and vice versa, as well as payments for goods and services using MoMoPay for a period of 90 days.

Social distancing amongst other precautionary interventions has undoubtedly increased the importance of communities staying digitally connected. In light of this, MTN has seen a spike in Internet traffic. 

Indicating how the company plans to deal with the upsurge in online traffic and network load, Mrs. Ng’ambi said, “We have noted an increase in internet traffic, almost doubling in residential areas due to the current situation. We have taken immediate actions to optimize and expand the existing network resources to accommodate the increase in demand over the coming weeks.”

A key priority for MTN is to ensure business continuity.  Services over this time will be even more critical, so priority is ensuring network continuity, availability of spares and equipment and the upgrading of capacity. 

MTN Rwanda has taken a series of precautionary measures to ensure continuity of services and the safety of its stakeholders including employees, customers, communities and suppliers against the outbreak.

All recommended and necessary prevention mechanisms have been put in place in all MTN touchpoints.

A work-from-home plan for employees has been implemented in order to reduce the number of employees in offices and Service Centres at a given time and provisioning of hand sanitizers and temperature screening at all points.

Franchisees, Agents and Suppliers/Service Providers have also been guided to ensure that they are taking the same precautionary and preventative measures. 

Customers can seek MTN services through the call centre by dialling 100, visit the Service Centres from 8am to 3pm or engage MTN agents that remain operational to ensure continued Mobile Money and airtime service delivery.

To curb the spread of Covid-19, Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority (RURA) has put in place measures for Agents to adhere to when conducting transactions with customers.

MTN Mobile Money and Airtime Agents must wear gloves and masks at all times and keep a 1 metre distance from customers.

They are not allowed to work under the same umbrella/station nor exchange mobile devices. Agents who violate these set guidelines will be subject to penalties which may include closure of their businesses.

“MTN Rwanda’s top priorities are to keep our customers connected and our employees safe and healthy. We stand ready to leverage our core expertise, technology and infrastructure to support and align our response with the efforts of the Government to contain and mitigate the spread of Covid-19,” Mrs. Ng’ambi said.

 

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CORONA VIRUS

UN Agency Says Travel Bans over Omicron a ‘Mistake

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Many countries across the globe have rushed to impose travel ban on arrivals to countries in the southern africa region following the emergence of a more deadly covid-19 strain known as omnicron in South Africa.

 

Passengers from most countries in South African Development Community bloc are banned from entering various countries across the globe.

 

Like many other countries responding to the quick spread of Omnicron, Rwanda has banned passengers arriving from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Malawi.

 

The government of Rwanda said on Monday any passengers from the countries listed shall have to be quarantined for 7 days at their own cost.

 

Meanwhile, the head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa said that travel bans to try and stop the omicron strain from spreading are a “mistake” and pose a greater risk to African economies than the threat of the virus itself.

The restrictions could push more people in the continent into poverty, said Vera Songwe, Uneca’s executive director. The agency was already estimating that 70 million jobs would be lost because of the pandemic, she said. 

Rwanda Issues New Conditions For Travelers From Southern Africa

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CORONA VIRUS

Rwanda Issues New Conditions For Travelers From Southern Africa

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Passengers arriving in Rwanda from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Malawi shall have to be quarantined for 7 days at their own cost, the government of Rwanda said on Monday.

A new coronavirus strain named Omicron potentially more contagious than previous variants and is fast spreading across the world and has forced governments to institute enhanced guidelines to quickly prevent the variants further spread.

Passengers arriving in Rwanda shall have to respect the new measures announced by the government on Sunday. It said that passengers arriving from the countries mentioned above are required to quarantine for seven days at their own cost at designated hotels upon arrival in Rwanda.

“The measure also applies to passengers who have visited any of these countries within seven days of arrival in Rwanda.”

Meanwhile, all other arriving passengers are required to quarantine for one day at their own cost in designated hotels. a covid-19 PCR test will be conducted on arrival also paid for by the passenger and an additional PCR test covered by the government of Rwanda will be administered at a designated testing site on day 7 after arrival in Rwanda.

RwandaAir flight to the South African countries are also suspended until further notice.

An extra-ordinary cabinet meeting held yesterday learned that despite the fact that Omicron variant is not yet detected in Rwanda, residents are required to be vigilant by enforcing preventive measures.  

Prior the announcement, Botswana’s Presidential COVID-19 Task Force also forewarned the public about the new variant cases in the country.

“The four cases were detected among travelers who tested SARS-COV-2 positive on routine pre-travel testing. The variant tests were carried out as part of the routine genomic surveillance of SARS-COV-2 as prescribed in our COVID-19 response plan.” the statement signed by Dr. K Masupu, Coordinator, Presidential COVID-19 Task Force reads.

UK has also imposed a travel ban on South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini.

Researchers around the world are still conducting multiple studies to better understand many aspects about Omicron.

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CORONA VIRUS

U.S. Gives Rwanda Nearly 2 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses in Total 

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The Embassy of the United States of America to the Republic of Rwanda announces a new delivery of 301,860 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as a gift from the people of the United States to the people of Rwanda.

This brings the total current U.S. donation of COVID-19 vaccines to Rwanda to 1,960,550 doses.  These vaccine doses are accompanied by U.S. donated syringes and the United States provides 1,350,000 needed syringes to fill a critical gap.

This donation is a further symbol of U.S. commitment to work with the Government of Rwanda to protect the health of the Rwandan people.

Ambassador Vrooman announced, “The United States has provided nearly 2 million vaccine doses to Rwanda, with another million doses due to arrive via COVAX in December.”  

Thanks to the ingenuity of American scientists and the strength of American manufacturing, the United States is bringing life-saving vaccines around the world to the people who need them the most.

To date, the United States has donated more than 240 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to more than 100 countries –a major step in ending the pandemic globally. 

In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, the United States provided more than 65 million vaccine doses.  And we are not done yet. Working together with COVAX, WHO, UNICEF, and partner countries, the United States is committed to donating 1.1 billion vaccine doses to where they are needed most to end this global pandemic.  

We also appreciate our partnership with Rwanda.  In delivering donations of life-saving vaccines, personal protective equipment, training, and testing capabilities, Rwanda can be well on the way to ending this pandemic’s high toll on life, livelihoods, and secondary social and economic impacts. 

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