Rwanda: Health Minister Issues Warning Amid Spike in Covid-19 Cases

The Minister for Health, Dr. Daniel Ngamije, has issued a stern warning to people defying Covid-19 containment measures, saying that the practice will potentially trigger another wave of virus infections.

Ngamije was speaking on Thursday, June 10, in an interview with the national broadcaster during his visit at the Special Economic Free Zone, alongside a delegation from the World Health Organisation, to among others witness the safety of the Covid-19 vaccines in the country.

When questioned about the recent daily cases that continue to shoot above 100 in the past two days, the minister related the worrying numbers to the violation of containment protocols.

"I believe one of the reasons that have led to the spike of infections is the increased screening but then again we tested different people who crossed the country from the neighboring DR Congo in the past days," he said.

He added, "And the fact that some activities were recently resumed in order to revive the economy has left many violating the standard measures."

The country's Covid-19 cases recorded daily were barely 50 a few days back, but the minister argues that the current numbers imply a worrying trajectory.

However, in the past two days, 239 cases have been recorded and five people have succumbed to the virus, a scenario that had not been witnessed for months.

Ngamije stressed the importance of individual responsibility, citing that the battle against the pandemic doesn't leave anyone behind.

"The cases are still manageable but we have to keep a close eye on it," he said, "We have to understand that if the country records over 100 cases daily, it is a big challenge."

With the increase in new cases resulting in an increase in hospital admissions and the number of deaths, Ngamije assured that government is currently monitoring the situation to ensure that all patients are taken care of.

"We are closely monitoring the situation to find out how much capacity we have in the hospitals to take care of the patients, should the cases continue to increase,"

"What we are asking people is to be encouraged to be vaccinated, we have not even vaccinated 10 per cent of our target."

Official data from the Rwanda Biomedical Centre indicate that over 375,000 people have been vaccinated since March with the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.

With about 3.5 doses of vaccines expected by the end of this year, the country plans to vaccinate more people as part of the efforts to achieve its 60 percent target by 2022.

Despite the ongoing inoculation drive, RBC on Monday launched another drive/walk-through Covid-19 testing survey through which officials say over 2000 samples will be collected in five days.

The survey is expected to help health officials to understand prevalence of the pandemic and also inform response efforts in Kigali which has been a leading hotspot.

Dr. Teopista John Kabutendi, who was part of the delegation from WHO commended Rwanda's efforts in the fight against the pandemic.

"We are here to look at the progress of the vaccination, we really commend the work and the good work continued to be provided," she added, "Really Rwanda is a role model to other member states."

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