Burundi announces first two Covid-19 cases

Tuesday March 31 2020

Burundi Health Minister Thadée Ndikumana

Burundi Health Minister Thadée Ndikumana addresses a news conference on March 31, 2020. PHOTO | MOSES HAVYARIMANA | NMG 

MOSES HAVYARIMANA
By MOSES HAVYARIMANA
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Burundi has confirmed its first two coronavirus cases, Health minister Thadée Ndikumana announced late Tuesday.

Dr Ndikumana said the two patients are Burundians aged 56 and 42.

“Both are Burundian nationals who had travelled to Rwanda and Dubai respectively and are being hospitalised at Bumerec hospital in Bujumbura,” the health minister told a news conference.

He, however, did not announce the day they arrived in the country saying it might jeopardise contact tracing efforts.

“We cannot provide the dates as investigations are ongoing,” said Dr Ndikumana.

As neighbouring countries of Rwanda, DR Congo and Tanzania reported cases of coronavirus, Burundi suspended all flights to and from Melchior Ndadaye International Airport and started screening returnees and visitors from countries affected by Covid-19.

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Belgian and French schools and the French Cultural Centre have suspended all their activities in the country for at least 15 days over coronavirus fears.

The decision came after a 29-year-old French national who had travelled to Rwanda from March 5 to 9 revealed that she was in contact with a colleague during her stay in Kigali who tested positive for coronavirus.

Last week, Tanzania’s Health Minister Ummy Ally Malimu announced that one of the new recorded cases in the country was a truck driver who was found at Kagera, a region bordering Burundi.

The driver reportedly entered Tanzania through Kabanga, a common border between Burundi and Tanzania.

Most of the East African Community member states are under lockdown in efforts to contain the spread of the respiratory disease in their countries.