Rwanda's great strides in Covid-19 testing

Sunday July 05 2020

Workers from the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) screen passengers at a bus station in Kigali on March 22, 2020 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. PHOTO | AFP


A second Rwanda peacekeeper succumbed to Covid-19, bringing the country’s death toll from the pandemic to three as of Wednesday.

The soldier was serving in South Sudan and died in Rwanda where he had been airlifted for specialised treatment.

The government has worked at containing the virus spread with timely interventions. On June 27, the country recorded 101 new positive cases, the highest tally on a single day so far, spread over five districts in Kigali — Rusizi, Rubavu, Ngoma, Kayonza and Kirehe.

Despite the numbers, Rwanda’s systematic containment measures have enabled it to reinstate tourism activities as well as allow hotels to host conferences. This week, the European Union Council recommended the lifting of travel restrictions alongside 14 other countries. Germany’s Robert Koch Institute announced last week that Rwanda is no longer a Covid-19 risk area.

The country conducts an average of 4,000 tests per day. As of Wednesday, Rwanda had registered 1,042 positive coronavirus cases and had conducted 147,904 tests.

In the border district of Rubavu, health officials have staved off community transmissions. The district has now come out of a lockdown imposed in early June.


“We conducted several surveys in Rubavu after it had been placed under lockdown, and we did not find any more community transmissions. That is unlike Rusizi, which is still facing community transmissions,” Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the director of Rwanda Biomedical Centre told The EastAfrican.

A Cabinet meeting on Tuesday chaired by President Paul Kagame resolved not to place the country under another lockdown even as cases surge. Movement in Rusizi is still prohibited from 9pm to 5am.