Eritreans barred from Tour du Rwanda over vaccines

Eritrea’s national cycling team will not take part in the Tour du Rwanda, due to start next month, as it cannot meet the Covid-19 vaccine requirements.

The organisers of the Tour du Rwanda told the BBC that only cyclists who were vaccinated could participate.

Eritrea is the only country on the African continent that has not yet started vaccinating its citizens against coronavirus.

Throughout the pandemic, Rwanda has had strict rules, including various lockdowns.

This week, the government said that people must be fully vaccinated to access public spaces and events.

The announcement made by Tour du Rwanda in a tweet is a blow to the Eritrean team, which is one of Africa’s most successful.

The Tour du Rwanda has been growing in popularity. It was recognised by the International Cycling Union (UCI) in 2009 and the following year Eritrea’s Olympian Daniel Teklehaimanot took the yellow jersey.

After the race was upgraded to a higher classification in 2019, it attracted more world-renowned cyclists with Eritrea’s Merhawi Kudus and Natnael Tesfatsion taking yellow jerseys in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

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