Medical workers have urged caution as the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Rwanda crossed the 10,000-mark, saying it is time to observe preventive measures more than ever before.
The country reached ten thousand cases on Wednesday, making it the third East African country to cross the mark after Kenya (which has more than 98,000 cases) and Uganda with more than 37,900 cases.
Rwanda's new statistic follows a surge in positive cases during the months of December 2020 and January 2021, during which over 4,000 cases were registered in the country.
In addition to this, the number of fatalities has also been rising to unprecedented heights.
From November to January 13, a total of 93 Covid-19 related deaths were registered, meaning that on average at least one life was lost per day during the past two and a half months.
Speaking to The New Times, Dr Fabrice Iradukunda, who was part of the response team that was deployed to Rusizi District in 2020 buys into the idea that this is the time to be more careful than before in regard to preventing the spread of the virus.
"The rate of infections is increasing every day. Some countries are even detecting mutant Covid-19 variants," he said.
Commenting about the fact that Rwanda has reached ten thousand confirmed cases, he said the numbers are not very terrible, but still, he echoed concern regarding the recent surge in cases experienced in the country since December.
He spoke about some gaps that have come up in regard to prevention, especially among the youth
"Every day you hear about hidden parties taking place," he said. "They wear masks only when they are on the road, they wash hands only when they are supervised. Some of them put water in bottles, pretending that they are carrying sanitisers."
Julien Niyingabira, the Head of Rwanda Health Communication Centre (RHCC), the communications department of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) told this newspaper that there is a level of complacency among different people, and this is affecting the country's efforts against the virus.
"One of the reasons for this complacency might be the fact that when people live with a particular situation for long, they tend to get tired of observing the required measures," he said.
By the time of the interview, Niyingabira was at the main Covid-19 Treatment Center at Nyarugenge Hospital in Kigali, where among other things, he visited the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where patients with serious illness related to Covid-19 are being treated.
"I can guarantee you that what I have seen is serious, people are seriously ill. That is the situation," he said. "Things have changed, we are seeing an increasing number of infected cases, increasing numbers of people admitted into ICUs and the number of deaths are also increasing."
This, Niyibigira said, is totally different from what the country experienced at the begging of the pandemic in March last year.
"So the best time to observe preventive measures is now than it was even before," he added.
According to information shared by Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director-General of RBC, at least 18 Covid-19 patients are in High Dependency Care Unit (HDU), and these are just part of the more than 40 patients who are currently seriously ill in relation to the virus.