Rwanda will start to ease coronavirus lockdown from Monday

FILE PHOTO: Rwandan police prepare to fly a drone fitted with a megaphone in a residential neighbourhood to enforce a lockdown to stem the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Kigali, Rwanda April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Jean Bizimana

KIGALI (Reuters) - The Rwandan government will allow limited movement of people and allow restricted openings of businesses including restaurants and hotels from next Monday as it starts to ease its coronavirus lockdown.

Movement between provinces in the central African country will still not be allowed, while schools will also remain shut until September, according to a government statement released late on Thursday.

“All resumed services must adhere to health guidelines ... mask wearing and social distancing,” it said.

Rwanda alongside neighbouring Uganda implemented some of the strictest lockdown measures in Africa to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, including shuttering all but the most essential businesses.

As of Thursday Rwanda had 243 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no deaths.

Under the loosened lockdown restaurants will be allowed to open up to 7 p.m. Hotels will also be allowed to open, but only guests will be allowed on the premises in the evenings. Bars, and churches will remained shuttered.

Tourism is a major source of income for Rwanda, with visitors especially drawn to see its mountain gorillas.

Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; Editing by Elias Biryabarema and Frances Kerry