Rwanda goes for more testing amid lockdown

Saturday July 24 2021
Essential services providers in Rwanda

Only a few essential services providers in Rwanda are allowed to operate. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA

By Ange Iliza

The 10-day lockdown in Kigali has seen thousands of residents tested and treated as the government rolls out mass testing in areas with most Covid-19 prevalence.

The first mass testing carried out in the first two days of lockdown, July 17-18, reached 107,106 people in Kigali and had 3.7 percent of them on treatment. As the lockdown nears the end, the government is reconducting a second mass testing in Kigali to determine how effective the lockdown has been.

The second mass testing kicked off on Friday, July 23, targeting 40 cells with the highest positivity rate in Kigali— over 5 percent. The exercise targets 15 percent of the adult population of targeted cells.

According to the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, mass testing aims at determining the prevalence of Covid-19 in Rwanda. Both mass testing will give a before and after lockdown picture of the pandemic. The results will inform decision-making regarding guidelines to contain the spread of the virus.

The lockdown that is expected to end on Monday, July 26, was imposed to curb Covid-19 infections that have been on rise since early June. The national toll reached 61,371 on Thursday. Around 60 percent of the infections are tied to the Delta Variant.


Throughout the lockdown, Rwanda has increased daily Covid-19 testing from an average of 5,000 tests to 8,000-22,000 tests per day mass testing excluded. Positivity rate during the lockdown ranged from 3-10 percent.

The number of recoveries has been consistently between 800 and 1,000 per day. 71 percent of the total toll have recovered so far. Active cases are 16,747 with 78 patients in critical condition. 704 people have died of the virus, as of Thursday, July 22, with 255 lives lost in July only.

Despite the lockdown and mass testing, the number of infections recorded daily remains persistently high. According to the Minister of Health, Daniel Ngamije, the lockdown was imposed as the last resort to curb infections. The minister said that the length of the lockdown will depend on how effective it will be.

The capital Kigali, districts of Burera, Kamonyi, Musanze, Nyagatare, Rubavu, Rwamagana, Rutsiro and Gicumbi with most Covid-19 infections have been under lockdown since July 17.