Burundi records three cases of coronavirus

Friday April 03 2020

A medical staff member measures a man's temperature as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus on his arrival of repatriation in Gatumba, on border with the DR Congo, in Burundi, on March 18, 2020. PHOTO | ONESPHORE NIBIGIRA | AFP


In one week, Burundi recorded its first three cases of the coronavirus disease since the pandemic hit the region.

Health minister Thadee Ndikumana on Thursday April 2 announced one case of a confirmed infection, only two days after the first two Covid-19 cases in the country on March 31, 2020. Both the latter Burundian nationals, aged 56 and 42.

According to the government the two patients came from Rwanda and Dubai respectively and had been hospitalised at Bumerec, a private hospital in Bujumbura.

“We traced the contacts of people who have been in close contact with the victims and also of the person who was announced positive for the virus on Thursday,” said the health minister.
At least 23 people who were in close contact with the infected including their family were tested for the virus, with the results of the 22 coming out negative.

The government has stepped up measures including the suspension of flights to and from Melchior Ndadaye International Airport, screening and quarantining of passengers coming from Covid-19 infected countries in efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.

On the streets of the capital Bujumbura, all shops, offices and bus terminals have water points for handwashing, however at the grass roots level, little or nothing is known about the virus.


23-year-old Jean de dieu Nishimagizwe said that he knows little about the virus.

“I just hear about it but I don’t know how it spreads and I only see people refraining from shaking hands and they wash hands every time. that’s all I know,” said Nishimagizwe.
Despite having recorded the three cases in less than three days, Burundi’s Health minister called on the public to remain calm as the situation was under control.

Burundi is yet to take drastic measures of lockdown, prohibiting social, official or public gatherings, but the government has encouraged citizens to wash their hands and provided a hotline for reporting those who could have been infected.