Rwanda has expressed displeasure with the United Kingdom after London banned travelers from the east African country, citing the need to stop the spread of mutant strains of Covid-19.
Last Thursday, the UK’s transport minister announced that his country had added Rwanda, Burundi, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to its coronavirus travel ban list with effect from Friday, January 29.
“This means people who have been in or transited through these countries will be denied entry, except British, Irish, and third country nationals with residence rights who must self-isolate for ten days at home,” transport secretaryGrant Shapps said on Twitter.
In its statement pushing back against the ban, Kigali argued that its pandemic control efforts had been open and consistent.
“Rwanda’s overall response to Covid-19 including testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting has been consistent, transparent and corroborated by third party entities,” the statement read in part.
Authorities recently placed the capital Kigali under a 15-day lockdown after a surge in cases.
“Rwanda is one of the few countries that require a PCR Covid-19 test for all departing passengers and all those in transit,” it added.
Kigali’s national carrier, RwandAir has been operating flights to London Heathrow three times a week since last October.
Australian think tank Lowy Institute last week ranked Rwanda first in Africa and sixth globally in managing the Covid-19 pandemic.
The study ranked a total of 98 countries globally gauging their level in terms of average performance in managing the pandemic within 36 weeks when they recorded their 100th coronavirus case.
The country has recorded 15,304 cases and 199 deaths since it confirmed its index case last March.
The UK on the other hand has logged 3,820,000 cases and over 100,000 fatalities.
Burundi, which has been accused in the past of not taking the pandemic seriously has reported just over 1,000 cases.