NEW TIMES 15 APR 2020
It is slightly over one month since the first Coronavirus case was confirmed in Rwanda.
The Ministry of health confirmed the first patient on March 14, an Indian national who had travelled from Mumbai on March 8.
Rwanda has since far recorded 134 COVID-19 cases, of which 49 have recovered.
Most of the patients, who include nationals and non-nationals, were found to have a travel history a short time before they tested positive.
“This justifies why this pandemic hit Kigali more than any other region, because most of the infected people were recent travelers who transited at Kigali International Airport and stayed in the capital for a period of time,” says Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre told The New Times.
However, he added: “We have also encountered cases in different provinces but all the patients were travelers from other countries or Kigali.”
According to Nsanzimana, Western and Southern provinces have recorded one case each. These, as he says, are recent travelers from Kigali.
The Eastern Province has also recorded two cases drivers drivers from Tanzania, who tested positive and were immediately isolated.
The second province to record more cases after Kigali is Northern Province with seven cases.
Out of these, five were from one family (a father, mother, son, housekeeper and a driver), with another person who tested positive in Musanze District.
This brings the cumulative number of infected people upcountry to 11 with 123 in Kigali (with 49 recoveries), as of April 15th 2020.
During the interview, Nsanzimana appreciated the effort by government for acting swiftly by imposing the countrywide lockdown, which not only closed borders but also banned unnecessary travel between Kigali and the provinces.
This he said curtailed the spread of the virus to rural communities.
“We hail the government’s efforts to close borders. The measures to restrict movements made tracing easy. This is not the case of other countries that carry out tests in different corners of the country,” he says.
COVID-19 has claimed over 128,000 deaths with over two million confirmed cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).