Health

Rwanda extends curfew, restricts gatherings over surge in Covid-19

By Ange Iliza

Rwanda at the weekend extended curfew hours and implemented other strict measures following a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Rwanda has seen a spike in coronavirus infections in the past week with the positivity rate rising from 0.5 percent to 4.3 percent. Kigali was noted as the epicentre with more than half of the infections.

A cabinet meeting on June 12, resolved, among others, that business activities shall close by 8pm and residents will observe a 9pm-5am curfew. The previous curfew ran from 10pm to 4am.

The cabinet also resolved that churches, offices and public transport will only be allowed to operate with 30 percent of their respective capacity. Weddings shall not exceed 30 people, while all social gatherings in homes are prohibited.

As of June 12, the country had recorded 28,145 infections and 26,341 recoveries. The death toll from the virus stood at 370.

The rise in infections has been attributed to increased screening of travellers and at the borders. According to Rwanda Biomedical Center’s Director General, Dr Nsanzimana Sabin, one in three infected patients is a traveller.

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Last week, Rwanda’s national carrier RwandAir suspended flights to Uganda due to a surge in infections in the neighbouring country.

Dr Nsanzimana said Rwanda, like the rest of the East African region, is undergoing a resurgence in infections. In Rwanda, the infection hotspots have been mainly in crowded neighbourhoods and among travellers.

Health authorities are ready to spot and minimise the risk of infections in the country, especially at the borders, he assured Rwandans.

Dr Nsanzimana noted that Rwanda has not recorded the new Covid-19 variant that originated in India that is said to be 60 percent more contagious. In a sample of 300 tests, the variants from the UK and South Africa were found in 31 samples.

Vaccine

After a two-month long wait, more than 200,000 Rwandans who had received the first jab of AstraZeneca vaccines in early March 2021 have been receiving their second doses since late May.

On May 28, Rwanda received 247,000 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine through the Covax Facility and 117,600 doses donated by France’s President Emmanuel Macron on his recent visit to Rwanda.

The vaccines were immediately distributed to health centres across the country, marking the beginning of the second countrywide vaccination campaign.

So far, 389,501 people have received their Covid-19 vaccine.

The Ministry of Health recently announced that Rwanda expects to receive 3.5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to help achieve its target of inoculating 60 percent of its 12 million population by June 2022.


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