Rwanda rolled out a two-day mass testing for Covid-19 at the weekend that saw 124,488 people tested in the first two days of Kigali’s total lockdown.
Following the two-day mass testing, some 4,764 people were found to have Covid-19 and were put on medication and under home care, according to the Ministry of Health.
“Mass testing has been successful and the participation was high. We will use the results of this assessment to make decisions,” Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Center, said on Sunday, the last day of mass testing.
The mass testing has taken active cases from 14,716 to 16,632 in two days. It also reduced the positivity rate from 11 percent to 3.6 percent. The national toll rose to 57,332 cases as of Sunday, July 18, with 60 percent of the infections being identified as the Delta variant. Some 626 people have died from the virus since the pandemic hit in March last year.
Mass testing will be conducted again in 10 days to assess the effectiveness of the lockdown in curbing the rise in infections, the ministry said without specifying the date of the next mass testing.
The exercise was carried out to help determine the prevalence of Covid-19 in the capital Kigali and other locked-down districts.
Dr Nsanzimana added that the mass testing will provide other measurements about the current situation of the pandemic.
“We will be able to learn about symptoms, hospitalised patients, and other details about current infections. We will communicate the results from before and after lockdown to policymakers,” Dr Nsanzimana explained.
At least 15 percent of residents in every cell in Kigali were tested. Testing and treatment will continue as normal at public and private hospitals.
The ongoing lockdown in Kigali was imposed on July 14 by a cabinet meeting and took effect on July 17-July 26. It is expected that in the 10 days of the lockdown, the number of infections will decrease. The capital was put on lockdown following a spike in the number of infections.
Daniel Ngamije, the minister of Health, said in a press conference last week that the length of the lockdown will depend on how effective it will be.
Food aid for the vulnerable
According to the Ministry of Local Government, 220,000 vulnerable families in Kigali and 34,750 vulnerable families out of Kigali will be receive food assistance.
Depending on the size of the family, people started receiving beans, rice, and cornflour on Sunday. Families with children, pregnant women, and Covid-19 patients were also given milk, cooking oil, and porridge.
“The country used national food reserves to help vulnerable families go through the lockdown. The food will be available throughout the 10 days of the lockdown. We have set up toll-free numbers for people in need of food to call,” Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, the minister of Local Government, said on Sunday on national broadcaster.