Coronavirus: 11 cases, complete air travel ban

On 19 March 2020 at 10:19

Dr. Ngamije Daniel, Minister of Health has announced that 3 more cases of coronavirus have been identified in Rwanda making up 11 cases in total. The newly infected patients include an Indian citizen and two Rwandans. Following the announcement, new preventive measures have been adopted including a complete air travel ban for 30 days.

The three newly infected patients are a 37-year old Indian who arrived in Rwanda on March 8th, 2020 from Mumbai, India and she is the wife of patient zero who also reported himself to a health facility on March 13th. They also include a 26-year old woman with no travel history and a 45-year old man who arrived in Rwanda from Belgium via Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Dr. Ngamije said that the government of Rwanda has resolved to implement a complete lockdown on air travel to curb the spread of the virus since it was shown that most infected patients had recently traveled. "We intend to stop further spread of the virus by imposing a total lockdown on air travel."

Given that symptoms of coronavirus start showing between 2 to 14 days, some patients who were screened upon their arrival did not pose any threat until days later.

Starting March 20th, 2020, the ministry of health imposed a 30-day renewable air travel ban. "To further mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak, all arriving and departing commercial passenger flights including RwandAir will be halted beginning Midnight March 20th, 2020 for an initial period of 30 days." Only cargo and emergency flights will keep operating.

Ngamije said the new measures will put less pressure on the health system and allow adequate medical care to already existing patients.

Besides providing medical assistance to infected patients, the ministry of health is also conducting tests on all individuals who had contact with them since their arrival in Rwanda.

Patient zero was identified in Rwanda on March 14th, 2020 and since then the number has hiked to 11. Patients are currently receiving medical care at Kanyinya health center in Nyarugenge district and are quickly recovering.

The ministry of health advises Rwandans to keep observing preventive measures to counter further spread of the virus and to call the toll-free number 114 to report any symptoms.

COVID-19 spreads through direct contact with the infected person, sneezing and coughing. To prevent the spread of the virus, regular hand washing with alcohol-based hand sanitizers or clean water and soap is advised, covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and avoiding large gatherings. In addition, it is important to avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Other measures taken by the ministry of health to counter coronavirus are closing all public and private schools as well as higher education institutions, banning public gatherings and advising citizens to work from home.

The World Health Organization(WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11th, 2020 following the increasingly big number of patients since it was identified in Wuhan, China.

Currently, coronavirus has claimed the lives of 8790 people while the total number of infected people are 213, 541 with 84, 314 who have already recovered.

Dr. Ngamije Daniel, Minister of Health has announced that 3 more cases of coronavirus have been identified in Rwanda making up 11 cases in total