What next after 10-day lockdown?

By Théophile Niyitegeka
On 24 July 2021 at 08:26

The cabinet meeting of 14th July 2021 imposed 10-day lockdown in Kigali City and eight districts including Burera, Gicumbi, Kamonyi, Musanze, Nyagatare, Rubavu, Rwamagana and Rutsiro as part of stringent measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The decision takes effect from 17th till 26th of July 2021 when Rwandans expect new guidelines.

Following the imposition of lockdown, the Ministry of Health conducted mass testing in different parts of the country to know the status of the pandemic.

Since then, Kigali City continued to be the major hotspot where 3965 positive cases equivalent to 3.7% have been found out of 107 106 sample tests.

In general, 4.5% of these cases were found in Kicukiro district, 3.8% in Gasabo and 2.5% in Nyarugenge district.

The State Minister in Charge of Primary Healthcare at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Tharcisse Mpunga has told IGIHE that 10-day lockdown is not enough to know the status of the pandemic.

“We are taking as many as possible sample tests in different parts identified as major hotspots for COVID-19 infections. Besides, the 10-day lockdown is not enough. It should take at least 21 days taking into consideration the incubation period and days of sickness until recovery. We cannot disregard the fact that people infected before the lockdown may recover within 10 days but there might be active cases confirmed after imposition of lockdown,” he said.

“At least three weeks should be considered before lifting lockdown because all cases are not confirmed in one day. That is when you can rest assured whether movements and new cases have reduced at a desired extent,” added Dr. Mpunga.

In case the 10-day lockdown is not extended, Dr. Mpunga explained that the Government might reopen some activities that could not wreak the havoc.

Rwanda confirmed the first Coronavirus patient on 14th March 2020. Since then, 62 328 people have been tested positive of whom 44 739 recovered, 16 871 are active cases, 71 are critically ill while 718 have succumbed to the virus.

A total of 423,182 people have been vaccinated since Rwanda began countrywide inoculation programme on 5th March 2021.

Since the lockdown was imposed on 17th July 2021, there has been no significant progress in reducing new COVID-19 cases and deaths.

One day before the decision went into effect; Rwanda recorded 927 new cases, 10 deaths and 732 recoveries.

On the first day of the lockdown; the country registered 1997 new cases, 12 deaths and 976 recoveries.

The country also registered increased cases on 18th July where 2773 positive cases were confirmed, while 11 succumbed to the virus.

According to the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, these figures give a clear image on status of the pandemic and help the country to identify areas of priorities.

RBC reveals that new tests are conducted within designated timeframe to gauge the situation and confirm whether previously tested patients have recovered.

On Friday 23rd July 2021, RBC conducted the second mass testing of COVID-19 in cells identified as major hotspots where 953 people tested positive.

The majority of new cases were found in 25 cells of Gasabo district, 16 cells from Kicukiro and more 4 cells from Nyarugenge district.

The Ministry of Health reveals that new measures to be implemented after the 10-day lockdown will take into consideration the feedback from recently carried out mass tests in Kigali City and other districts put under lockdown.

Coronavirus symptoms include coughing, flu, and difficulty in breathing. The virus is said to be transmitted through the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract.

Rwandans are urged to adhere to COVID-19 health guidelines, washing hands frequently using soaps and safe water, wearing face masks and respecting social distancing.

Kigali City is among other parts of the country where a 10-day lockdown was imposed from 17th to 26th July 2021.