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Is Rwanda ready to open its Airport? - FurtherAfrica
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Is Rwanda ready to open its Airport?

The staff of a contemporary coffee shop at the Kigali International Airport are undergoing new drills on how to serve passengers ahead of the opening of the airport on August 1.

Seats and tables have been readjusted. Waiters are learning new ways of serving customers. Their posturing is peculiar but sensitive to the new normal imposed by the deadly coronavirus.

Airport staff criss-cross in an unfamiliar manner. They keep a distance and wear masks all the time. They pass by a sanitizing station to disinfect themselves after touching materials, surfaces, or walls and doors.

A high tech robot has been deployed to support the airport crew in enforcing #covid-19 measures and guidelines recommended by the World Health Organisation and the Rwanda Health Ministry. Robots will be performing random mass screenings after the airport’s activities resume on August 1.

Silas Udahemuka, the Director-General of Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA), told journalists on Friday afternoon that he is comfortable with the preparations.

Photo by Taarifa Rwanda

All companies that supply services and goods have been given training on guidelines and workshops conducted to ensure the guidelines are understood.

Inspections are being carried out to ensure the airport is not found wanting come Agust 1.

Airport floors are painted with marks indicating how passengers should stand between each other. Sanitizing stations are installed at each entry and exit point.

All counters have glass shields to protect passengers and staff from possible contagion. A sanitizer is installed on each counter too. Once boarding passes are checked, passports stamped and exchanged, passengers, can sanitize and proceed.

Upon entry, before security check-in, passengers have to sanitize, keep their masks on, then proceed for security checks. Each passenger must produce a #covid-19 test result from Rwanda Biomedical Center for those departing Kigali. Those arriving must have tested negative 72 hours before arrival.

Passengers can self-check-in and out on newly installed automated machines. Staff can assist if passengers request. Traditional check-ins are also available, but not encouraged.

A specialized clinic has been designated to handle #covid-19 as a separate operation. Thermo cameras are installed at entry and exit points to detect temperatures of passengers.

Photo by Taarifa Rwanda

Data from the cameras is sent to computers where a specialized team assesses and is ready to respond to an identified case with symptomatic temperature levels.

Rwandair CEO, Yvonne Makolo says all passengers will have to show the #covid-19 negative certificate, whether they are arriving, transiting, or departing from Rwanda.

Seats in the waiting area are marked with a one-meter distance between passengers.

Photo by Taarifa Rwanda

RwandAir crew will be wearing personal protective gear (PPE), goggles, facemasks, and gloves. “We have made sure that the aircraft is thoroughly cleaned after each flight,” Makolo said. She said all aircrafts are going to be fumigated before and after each flight.

Passengers will be boarding in small groups, one by one. Meanwhile, Makolo says RwandAir will resume flights, starting with select African routes where borders are open, as well as Dubai. More destinations will be added as countries lift travel restrictions.

The Director-General of Rwanda Biomedical Center, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana told Taarifa that Rwandair Crew has been given simulation drills of how to handle a case on board.

Photo by Taarifa Rwanda

He said that a specialized medical staff has been designated to fly with all aircrafts and allocated with equipment to manage any case in the event of an identified patient on board.

According to Udahemuka, other airlines operating the Kigali rout will also adhere to the guidelines and will be subjected to the same measures.

So far eight foreign airlines that fly to Kigali have applied to reopen operations (Qatar Airways, Brussels Airlines, KLM, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airways, and Jambojet)

“At the moment, we have a better knowledge of how to manage COVID-19 than when we first recorded the first case in Rwanda. We have been able to figure out how the dynamics of the virus change,” Dr. Nsanzimana said.

Photo by Taarifa Rwanda

Random tests are taken on streets and in designated testing centers (3 centers) in the country.

“Our capacity to test and contain also improved tremendously. We are ready to ensure that more infections don’t come on planes as was the case when the pandemic broke out,” Dr Nsanzimana said.

Source: Taarifa Rwanda

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