Urban areas remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) with continued slow economic recovery
The number of daily COVID-19 cases, which averaged 32 new cases per day in July increased to 108 new cases per day in the second half of August. The rapid rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases is reportedly due to complacency in adherence to public health guidelines. On August 27, the government extended the curfew by two hours to 19:00-05:00 hrs., prohibited mass gatherings, reduced staffing in public institutions to 30 percent capacity, and prohibited upcountry travel by public transport to control the spread of infection. Offices in the private sector and markets will continue operating at 50 percent occupancy.
Although most businesses have resumed, schools, sports and performance places, and bars remain closed. The National Bank of Rwanda noted signs of economic recovery in June, particularly in the trade, manufacturing, and financial sectors. However, public transport is operating at 50 percent of normal capacity to comply with physical distancing protocols, increasing transport costs, and hotels and restaurants are nearly empty. Schools have been closed since March and no reopening date has been announced. While recovering sectors are gradually hiring back furloughed employees, sectors that are still closed or operating at below-average levels continue to lay off employees. The loss of income in better-off households impacted by the furloughs has reduced the demand for services in the informal sector which many poor households rely on for income. Reports from key informants suggest that at least one in five households in Kigali are likely to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2), with some of the most vulnerable poor households in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Households are currently coping by borrowing food, reducing meal sizes, and limiting non-food purchases. Relatives (including from rural areas), better-off neighbors, and church organizations are also assisting affected households.
Food insecurity in rural areas remains Minimal (IPC Phase 1) as household food stocks and market access is normal following the average Season B harvest in July. According to key informants, the flow of food and money from rural areas to Kigali may now be greater than the traditional remittance flow from urban to rural areas.