Rwanda has been included on a “safe list” of the European Union as among four countries in Africa can enter the Schengen territory from July 1 should these countries reopen their borders. The European Commission, the bloc’s executive body earlier recommended the reopening of external borders from July 1 . In the past weeks, the border situation in the 26-member bloc remained a fusion picture but the ambassadors representing the region last week ended negotiations and modalities to reopen the borders after days of disagreements.
According to reports from Europe, a list drawn on the basis of countries with similar epidemiological situations with Europe excludes the African continent with the exception of four countries: Rwanda, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.
However, travellers from these countries must first check with the EU country they wish to visit, as the Member State are permitted to exclude some of the countries from the list when it comes to who can enter their borders since the policy is not legally binding.
Rwandan Health Minister Dr Daniel Ngamije speaking to www.zamireports.com said,”Rwanda’s selection to the safe list is as a result of efforts by all Rwandans”.
Borders of Member States were closed in March 2020 following the severity of the pandemic in the region.
While USA was excluded on the list on account of COVID-19 exacerbating, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, New Zealand, Serbia, South Korea, and Uruguay were included.
The Schengen Area is an area comprising twenty six (26) European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The bloc includes; Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland and mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy.
The government of Rwanda is estimating to spend $73m, an amount above $40m used so far in the pandemic in purchasing health kits, treat and manage infected persons in isolated camps, and investing in research.
Dr Daniel Ngamije revealed the country is able to test more than three hundred (300) people on daily basis and plans to put health kits in all four provinces.
“Rwanda is able to test more than three hundred (300) people on daily basis. Henceforth, we are planning to put test kits in all four provinces in the next month”.
Majority of Schengen cities following the announcement requested to be given enough time to survey the health standards for the countries on the list.
The “safe list” is expected be updated in two weeks. Countries to be allowed on the list requires affected COVID-19 be within the range of 16% among hundred (100) inhabitants in the period of the last 14 days of travel.
By Emmanuel NKANGURA|zamireports|Kigali.