March 8, 2021

Rwanda Tells CHOGM Delegates it Will be “Safe” for Summit

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Marking Commonwealth Day March 8, 2021 in Kigali

Rwanda’s foreign affairs minister Dr Vincent Biruta said Monday that the country would organize a “safe meeting” for the nearly 10,000 delegates expected to attend the Commonwealth summit in late June.

In a statement marking Commonwealth Day, March 8, Biruta said: “As we celebrate this day, let me take this opportunity to invite you to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which will take place in Kigali…”

Despite there being a global pandemic, different countries are dealing with the virus differently. The UK has banned travellers from Rwanda and many other countries, but not from the United States where the spread is far higher.

In this region, Tanzania, which neighbors Rwanda to the east, has not implemented any known control measures like masks, lockdowns and social distance. Even the vaccines have yet to be procured. Yet, Tanzania is a key member of the Commonwealth – meaning hundreds of delegates will come from there.

Vaccinations began two weeks ago in Rwanda, and still ongoing. Daily infections have remained at 100 cases on average, but are slowly reducing.

Rwanda is also still in partial lockdown, with no inter-district travel allowed. There are strict enforcement measures in place for flouting mask wearing or night curfew.

As the situation stands right now, preparations are in high gear for a complete and fully attended summit like it would have been before the pandemic. Venues are being brought to standard. And a Commonwealth delegation was here last week, indicating that everything was going according to plan.

“Rwanda is prepared to deliver an impactful and safe meeting, in respect of all WHO guidelines,” said Dr Biruta today, “and looks forward to welcoming members of the Commonwealth family as we continue to work hand in hand to deliver our common goals.”

It now remains to be seen if all leaders and delegates expected from the 54 member states, will all actually make it to Rwanda.

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