RwandAir Suspends Flights to Southern Africa for Fear of Covid-19 Variant

According to a statement released on Monday by the airline, February 8, the suspended routes include Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, Lusaka in Zambia, and Harare in Zimbabwe.

Rwanda’s national carrier, RwandAir, has suspended its flight to three southern Africa routes with immediate effect owing to the emerging global concerns of the Covid-19 variants prevalent in the region.

According to a statement released on Monday by the airline, February 8, the suspended routes include Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, Lusaka in Zambia, and Harare in Zimbabwe.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the airline said: “Scheduled flights will resume as soon as there is more clarity on the situation.”

Part of the statement also reads: “Affected customers can rebook and fly at a later date at no additional cost or request for a fund.”

Reports indicate that South Africa was among the countries which detected new variants of Covid-19, a few weeks ago, alongside other countries include Brazil, Britain among others.

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However, with the variants spreading rapidly across the Southern Africa region, experts say that this will arguably make the fight against Covid-19 more difficult.

The South African government has already stalled its roll-out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after a study showed “disappointing” results against its new Covid-19 variant.

South Africa received one million doses of the AstraZeneca jab and was due to start vaccinating.

Scientists say the virus strain accounts for 90% of new Covid-19 cases in South Africa.

After months of lockdown last year, RwandAir resumed commercial flights in August 2020 across its global network, including most of its routes on the continent, as well as some long-haul destinations such as London Heathrow, Brussels and Dubai.

The airline recently launched its twice-weekly flights to Central Africa Republic’s capital Bangui as part of its recovery strategy from the devastating economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

All passengers arriving in Rwanda are required to present a negative Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within 72 hours of boarding their flights.

Upon arrival, they are required to self-quarantine for seven days and take a free of charge PCR test at the end of this period.

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