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Rwanda Coronavirus Update |Coronavirus-COVID-19 Updates in Rwanda

Rwanda confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 on Saturday 14th March 2020. The confirmed case was an Indian citizen who arrived from Mumbai. Rwanda became the second East African country to confirm a case after Kenya had confirmed their first case on Friday 13th March 2020.

The Coronavirus COVID-19 prevention measures announced by the Government of Rwanda are rigorously observed, especially frequent hand-washing and physical distancing. In addition, face masks must be worn in public and multi-family compounds. Withholding information related to contact tracing or COVID-19 symptoms jeopardise public safety and will be punished in accordance with applicable laws.

The key symptoms of coronavirus are dry cough, shortness of breath, and fever.

Rwandan authorities in parts of the capital, Kigali, have placed a stay-at-home order following an increase in new coronavirus cases.

People living in Gikondo Hill in the district of Kicukiro and some parts of Mount Kigali in the district of Nyarugenge were ordered to “keep home immediately for a period of at least 15 days,” according to the ministry of the interior.

The order was released Thursday night and several residents woke up unaware of it on Friday. Police called Clarisse Mutamuliza, who lives in Gikondo, back to her house as she was going to work.

“I hadn’t seen it in the press, it was confirmed late last night. I didn’t even know my neighbourhood had cases of coronavirus,” Ms Mutamuliza told BBC Great Lakes.

The Ministry of the Interior said it reinstated the lockdown “based on analysis of the status of coronavirus in Kigali by health officials.”

Rwanda has reported 204 new cases in the last seven days, including 21 in Kigali.

Most recent cases have been recorded in an eastern city bordering Tanzania, and in another western city bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Upon announcing their first case of coronavirus on 21 March, the East African nation became the first in sub-Saharan Africa to order a complete shutdown. 45 days later the restrictions were eased, in May.

Until now, the country has reported 850 cases, 385 recoveries and 2 deaths.

The Government has reached a decision to repatriate Rwandan nationals who have been stranded in various parts of India due to restrictions on movement and international flight suspension.

According to the Rwandan Embassy in New Delhi, there are about 130 Rwandans who have been stranded in India since the closure of international travel.

Jacqueline Mukangira, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to India told The New Times that a deal has been reached with RwandAir to repatriate nationals early next month. “We have agreed with RwandAir to facilitate Rwandans to travel back home. If nothing changes, the plane will arrive in Mumbai on July 2,” she said in a phone interview.

Mukangira said they made a formal request to the External Ministry of India to allow Rwanda to repatriate its citizens and asked RwandAir for landing clearance. Many of the Indian-stuck Rwandans are students and patients who went to treat.

It is expected that the national carrier will repatriate nearly 100 Rwandans, who have already expressed interest in returning home, including Indian nationals operating in Rwanda.

In April, the government concluded an agreement with RwandAir to repatriate Rwandans from abroad, including those working and studying in the US.

The airline has been operating flights every Friday to and from Brussels.

Just a few days after Rwanda announced the reopening of tourism on chartered flights for domestic tourists and visitors, officials say the country is on a strong trajectory with bookings for gorilla trekking, canopy and Akagera safari tours growing.

“The pattern is looking very, very strong within a week of the reopening of the tourism sector,” said Belise Kariza, Chief Tourism Officer at the Rwanda Development Board on Friday, June 26.

According to Kariza, 69 bookings have been made for Volcanoes National Park, home of the popular endangered mountain gorillas.

“At least 42 are confirmed bookings, meaning these are the people who will be trekking the mountain gorillas,” she noted in a webinar, adding that there is a strong proportion of international and Rwandan visitors, as well as EAC residing in Rwanda.

The rest of the reservations are the ones that will go for mountain hiking.

The tourism head also indicated that Nyungwe National Park, home to canopy walks, is just beginning to pick up with four confirmed tourists, and 16 Akagera National Park visitors.

Last week on June 18, Rwanda relaxed tourism restrictions allowing both domestic and international tourists to visit some of the country’s tourism offerings.

The declaration came nearly three months after the country’s tourism operations were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourists are now required on minimum health and safety guidelines to visit Rwanda.

In order to ensure that the industry picks up, Rwanda announced promotional prices for gorilla-trekking licenses as well as special packages for other tourism offers in the country, primarily targeting local and regional people.

Rwandans and East African nationals are paying $200 now, while foreign residents are paying $500, a promotion that ends in December.

This would go a long way in promoting domestic tourism in the region, according to RDB. Global tourists are to start charging $1,500.

Tourism sector is one of Rwanda’s hardest-hit sectors, with figures showing that the number of tourists fell 54 per cent in March this year after the lockdown announcement.

According to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), travel receipts (revenue from international tourists coming to Rwanda) dropped by 35 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same time last year.

Rwanda saw a 100 per cent decline in visitor numbers in the months of April and May, Kariza noted.

In addition, the private sector is working on ways to get back to business.

Frank Gisha Mugisha, the Director-General of the Private Sector Federation’s Rwanda Tourism Chamber, stressed that they are engaging hoteliers and tour operators to design attractive tourist packagers.

Rwanda will host the East Africa Tourism Platform secretariat, a regional private sector tourism body founded by TradeMark East Africa in 2011 for the East African region.

The platform was created as an effort to promote the East African Community as one tourism destination and some identify it as a tourism lobby party.

Rwanda was identified as the new host of the body’s secretariat during an online webinar held on Tuesday, naming three Rwandan members to be part of the governance committee.

The organization will be led by Amiable Rutagarama, Chairman of the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism, Frank Gisha Mugisha, Director-General of the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism at the Private Sector Federation (PSF), and Bonita Mutoni, Chairperson of the Rwanda Travel and Tours Association.

Trademark East Africa announced a $250,000 (roughly Rwf 238.4 million) financial package to support the body’s operations, including market development, advocacy, and institutional capacity, among others.

Waturi Matu, senior director at Trademark East Africa, lauded the platform as an effort that has driven the EAC region’s marketing as one travel brand.

The organization worked with EAC countries ‘ national airlines to persuade them to reduce airfares and grant each other fifth freedom rights, facilitating the region’s travel and tourism.

The platform’s launch comes at a time when the region’s tourism struggles after taking a heavy hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has ravaged countries.

Tourism and hospitality have been affected in all EAC countries, with the closure of national parks and hotel occupancy going down to zero except for a few instances where lodging facilities are used as quarantine centres.

Emmanuel Nsabimana, the Rwanda Development Board ‘s Head of Tourism Regulation revenue shrank as the operators lost profits, sending the industry to losses. “We reported a Rwf30 billion loss for the hospitality industry in March; from at least 207 hotel businesses and 1,000 members,” he noted in a webinar. A result of losing income, he said, many operators struggle to pay back bank loans.

Tourism is the top foreign exchange earner in Rwanda, contributing 3 per cent directly to gross domestic product ( GDP) and 10 per cent indirectly, and representing 8 per cent of off-farm jobs.

According to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), revenues produced from the industry represent 21 per cent of total exports.

It’s not only in Rwanda but in other countries the sector has been destroyed.

“Of many operators in the region, working capital is almost non-existent,” noted Pearl Kakooza, president of the Uganda Tourism Association.

“That’s why we think governments should (as some have already done) set aside rehabilitation funds for the companies affected, and we need to open up regionally,” she said.

Tourism operators in Tanzania have been left without business despite the country not implementing any lockdown measures, according to Tanzania’s Executive Secretary of Tourism Confederation Richard Rugimbana.

Last year Tanzania’s tourism industry generated some $2.6 billion and attracted 1.5 million tourists. “But with the Covid-19 pandemic, because of the cancelation of bookings and the postponement of tours, all tour operators lost business,” Rugimbana said.

While countries are getting ready to reopen companies, operators agree there is a need for harmonized tourism strategies in the region to revive the sector and turn its fortunes around in the long term.

Fred Odek, the incoming chairperson of the East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP), highlighted that one of the key focus areas would be to revive the sector in the region.

EATP partners with national ministries responsible for agriculture, wildlife, trade and transport departments, the EAC Secretariat, and private sector organizations.

It does so through advocacy, marketing, facilitating access to finance and risk management services, development of skills, research and sharing of information.

Rwanda has set up an economic recovery fund through which businesses that have been most affected, especially those in the tourism and hospitality industry, can leverage to reopen.

Rwanda is one of four African countries whose citizens will be welcomed into the Schengen region from July 11, as soon as the countries open their borders there, reports claim.

A list compiled on the basis of countries with a common epidemiological situation with Europe excludes the African continent, with the exception of four countries: Rwanda, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, according to reports from Europe.

The Schengen region comprises the following countries: Germany, Austria , Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France , Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands , Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

This comes as governments across Europe started to open their borders during the coronavirus pandemic, following weeks of closure.

The border situation in the 27-member bloc has remained a mixed image in the last few weeks.

Each nation had its own rules and the reopening timetable. Commercial flights in Albania resumed on 15 June.

But the EU appeared to have agreed on Saturday, June 27, on how it will assess which countries meet health standards-one of the entry criteria.

Reports in the UK have indicated that blanket restrictions on non-essential overseas travel will relax from July 6 onwards.

After months of travel restrictions over the coronavirus outbreak, the EU is reportedly considering reopening borders to visitors from more than 10 countries outside the bloc including Japan, South Korea and Canada from July 1.

The European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, earlier recommended the reopening of external borders from July 1.

Rwanda was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to order a total lockdown because of the coronavirus. A number of Rwanda safari destinations including Volcanoes National Park are currently temporarily closed as a measure to curb the spread of coronavirus. However, Rwanda is considering easing the existing Coronavirus Covid-19 restrictions that had completely grounded the travel & tourism sector in order to make it possible for both locals and internationals interested in Rwanda safari tours to resume visits to various sites.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the world, tourism was Rwanda’s biggest foreign exchange earner. But the government had since March permanently shut down the country’s tourism sector and closed borders and airports to cub the importation rate of the disease.

They have now set new guidelines New Coronavirus COVID-19 Travel Conditions for Tourists. READ MORE…

Rwanda Re-opens its TourismThe Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on Wednesday, June 17th 2020 announced the reopening of tourism activities and attractions, with a sharp cut in the price of permits for tracking endangered mountain gorillas.

RDB said in a statement that reopening of Rwanda tour activities and recommencement of international travel for charter flights are effective from June 17, 2020. However, they are exempting international tourists travelling with charter flights from anti-coronavirus measures that prohibit travellers from entry to Rwanda and suspend commercial flights. READ MORE…

Rwanda Coronavirus Update 18th JuneThe 2020 Rwanda International Trade Fair, Expo2020, has been postponed to December 11-31 due to Covid-19 pandemic. It was expected to take place from July 21-August 10. The 23rd Trade Fair has been postponed due to the fact that Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the movement of international exhibitors.

Rwanda Private Sector Federation, the organizers of the exhibition, announced the postponement on Thursday, June 18.

According to Eric Kabera who is in charge of Public Relations at the Federation, it is expected that by December countries will have opened borders and movements. “We have discussed with our exhibitors from different countries and have agreed that by December, commercial activities, as well as movements, will be resumed in many countries,” he said.

New Coronavirus COVID-19 Travel Conditions for TouristsRwanda was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to order a total shutdown because of the coronavirus. A number of Rwanda safari destinations including Volcanoes National Park are currently temporarily closed as a measure to curb the spread of coronavirus. However, Rwanda is considering easing the existing Coronavirus Covid-19 restrictions that had completely grounded the travel & tourism sector in order to make it possible for both locals and internationals interested in Rwanda safari tours to resume visits to various sites.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the world, tourism was Rwanda’s biggest foreign exchange earner. But the government had since March permanently shut down the country’s tourism sector and closed borders and airports to cub the importation rate of the disease. READ MORE…

Six villages of Kigali City were on Thursday, June 25 put under a 15-day total Covid-19 lockdown in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus in other areas.

The order was declared by the Ministry of Local Government, stating that the decision was based on research.

“Based on an investigation carried out by the Ministry of Health on Covid-19 and some parts of Kigali City where the pandemic has been identified up to now, the following villages will be put under complete lockdown for at least 15 days,” read the ministry statement in sections.

This decision follows a trend in the identification of new positive cases in the region.

For example, in Kigali city alone twenty-one cases have been confirmed since June 21. The six villages put under lockdown are located in the districts of Nyarugenge and Kicukiro.

They include villages of Kamabuye and Zuba located in Nyarurama cell, in Kicukiro district of Kigarama Sector.

The villages of Kigarama and Gikondo Sectors Nyenyeri and Rugano were also placed under lockdown, respectively.

The two cells are Kadobogo and Gisenga, situated in Kigali City, Nyarugenge District, Kigali Sector.

According to the Local Government Ministry, during the 15-day lockout, all private and public employees working in the said areas are expected to operate from home.

In addition, movements between the six cells and other adjacent areas are forbidden, according to the rule, except for those with health reasons or other understandable issues.

The Ministry of Health and the City of Kigali will continue to track and see if it is appropriate to place any other locations under lockdown as well, the statement says.

Local leaders and security organs were also urged to follow-up the implementation of the new directives that came into effect immediately after release.

Rwanda so far has 850 confirmed cases, of whom 385 have recovered. The country has since mid-March, when the first case was reported in Rwanda, recorded two deaths.

Looking at recent updates on the pandemic in the country, current main Covid-19 hotspots are Rusizi and Kirehe districts, and Kigali City.

Religious groups have begun enforcing steps requested by the government to reopen places of worship.

Following the outbreak in mid-march of the Coronavirus pandemic, places of worship, as well as other gatherings involving mass gathering activities, were suspended as one of the steps to curb the spread of the virus.

The government has proposed five conditions after the lockdown has been lifted that would be observed if the places of worship are reopened. We visited numerous venerable sites to check if the provisions are being applied.

Attendance at the service

Some churches have stepped up the number of worship services to restrict large gatherings. For example in Kimironko, Foursquare Gospel Church can use a google tracking sheet to promote the process of touch tracing as well as to restrict the number of attendants.

“We have a form in google that will be used by any attendant to register before they come to church. This has a set number of users, and if you seek to register after the minimum approved number, you will automatically be moved to the next service, “explained Bishop Fidele Masengo.

In addition to using infrared thermometers at each entrance, he adds that three services will be held each Sunday to limit the number of people attending.

Offers

Many churches have switched from the usual offering of hands to use digital payments. Regina pacis’ Father Jean Bosco Ntagungira in Remera says all their followers have been urged to use digital payments.

“We have sensitized all members of our church to follow electronic payment methods because we are battling this pandemic,” he said.

Sanitation

Of all the places of worship visited by The New Ages, it was clear that all the hygiene measures were adhered to: all the chairs were labelled for use or not and there were washing facilities at all entrances.

Sheik Salim Hitimana, an adviser to the president of the Inter-religious Council of Rwanda said that before entering any place of worship all the faithful would be required to wash their hands.

Coronavirus UpdatePlaces of worship, religious wedding ceremonies as well as meetings and conferences in hotels are some of the services that are expected to resume as Rwanda continues to slowly reopen the economy, cautiously relaxing measures to contain New Coronavirus.

Ahead f opening, Religious organizations in Rwanda have been asked to make the necessary investment in Coronavirus Covid-19 preventive measures ahead of a possible reopening of places of worship in the next 15 days. The decision was announced in a statement from an extraordinary cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Tuesday, June 16 at Village Urugwiro. “Places of worship will remain closed. In the meantime investment in Covid-19 precautionary and preventive measures is encouraged to allow readiness for reopening within 15 days upon an epidemiological assessment,” reads parts of the statement. READ MORE…

The Ministry of local government in Rwanda on Thursday, June 11 announced that Nkombo island in Rusizi district is currently under total lockdown. The move was announced and informed because of an increase in the coronavirus Covid-19 infections that have been detected in the area recently.

“Nkombo is currently under total lockdown, in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the area,” Anastase Shyaka, the Minister for Local Government announced on his Twitter account.

According to the local government, Nkombo island follows four other sectors that have previously been put on total lockdown in Rusizi district. Last week, sectors including Nyakarenzo, Mururu, Kamembe and a part of Gihundwe were put under total lockdown and will remain out of contact with other parts of Rusizi and the country at large, as efforts continue to isolate cases that could be in communities. READ MORE…

Religious Organisations Re-opening SoonThe Rwanda Inter-religious council has pitched to the government a set of measures that religious organisations should put in place once the government decides to reopen religious gatherings. The development comes to a couple of days after the Government asked faith-based Organisations to present to it measures that they could use to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in worship places.

In response, on Thursday, June 11, the Inter-religious council submitted a statement to the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB). Signed by the Vice –President of the Rwanda Inter-Religious Council, Archbishop Dr Laurent Mbanda, the statement compiles various preventive measures to be observed to avoid the spread of the pandemic once restrictions on worship places are lifted. READ MORE…

Kibungo University (UNIK), formerly known as Kibungo Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Education (INATEK), has been permanently shut down on administrative problems that have jeopardized the standard of education provided at the institution.

The decision to close the university based in the Eastern Province was taken by the Ministry of Education, following the university’s “comprehensive external examination” by the Higher Education Council (HEC) and subsequent meetings with both parties.

“Due to the failure of the Institute to comply with joint resolutions, the Ministry of Education regrets informing INATEK management that all academic operations are due to cease effective July 1 , 2020,” reads part of a letter signed by Valentine Uwamariya, Minister of Education.

The Minister gave up to two weeks to send a report to the Ministry of Education on how a range of measures were taken, including fulfilling all academic and financial obligations to students to enable alternative entry to other higher learning institutions to be pursued.

It was also asked to settle contractual obligations regarding the situation and other student- and staff-related matters.

Established in 2013, Kibungo University is one of the universities that witnessed last year’s biggest debt, including eight-month salary arrears for staff including lecturers.

In addition, the University leadership said it owes money to Eastern Province residents as well as many government agencies to the tune of Rwf2.5bn.

Prof. Egide Karuranga, the University’s vice-chancellor said these debts emerged because of the large number of shareholders taking money out of university rather than reinvesting it.

Nevertheless, lecturers accused administrators of incompetence at the university, adding that any person who heads the institution imposes their style of leadership and when it fails, it affects the university.

The university enrolled 4,500 students in 2004 but at the end of the last year had less than one thousand students.

In Rwanda, there are more than 3 million school leavers after the government has recommended schools close to prevent COVID-19 spread. The country has turned to one of its most accessible mediums, radio, in order to keep children learning.

UNICEF has documented over 100 world-wide radio scripts that can be modified to comply with Rwanda’s school curricula and based on fundamental literacy and counting. He then collaborated in the production and air of classes across the country with partners, including the Rwandan Broadcasting Agency.

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A new Covid-19 research laboratory has been set up in Rusizi City, which Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) says would directly help to control the Covid-19 pandemic in Western Province.

“Gihundwe District Hospital Covid-19 testing lab is fully set up and operational,” tweeted on Wednesday, June 24, Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, RBC Director-General.

He added: “RBC laboratory technicians have been mobilized to train the local laboratory technicians.”

The latest lab will conduct 500 sample samples a day according to Nsanzimana.

The establishment of this lab follows a series of high numbers of positive cases being detected in Rusizi District since the beginning of June this year.

Highlighting the advantages of the new Covid-19 testing laboratory, Nsanzimana explained that the whole western province will benefit from it.

“Evacuation of confirmed Covid-19 patients will now be accelerated, provided that findings from sample testing will be collected at a closer location,” he said.

“The laboratory will also help the entire Western Province in this regard, and the neighboring countries in addition, though this lies in both countries’ understanding,” he added.

Previously, sample samples would be taken from the district of Rusizi and carried to Kigali for testing at the National Reference Laboratory, which would prolong the process of identifying verified patients and recoveries to assist them accordingly.

The move is also in line with the country’s goal of growing its testing capability. Recently, the Rwanda Biomedical Center noted that the testing ability of Rwanda has increased fifteenfold over the past four months and has been extended across the world.

More efforts to curb the area’s pandemic

Rusizi remains the largest Covid-19 hotspot with a total of 830 confirmed cases in Rwanda as of 24 June.

In order to avoid further spread of this virus in neighbouring districts, five Rusizi sectors are totally lockdown and travel to and from this district is still prohibited.

Additionally, powerful command posts have been deployed to control the pandemic in that area in all districts neighboring Rusizi, says Nsanzimana.

Rwanda announced 101 new positive Covid-19 cases on Monday 29 June taking the number of confirmed cases to 1,001 against 443 recoveries.

During the last 24 hours, the latest report was collected from 2,498 sample tests performed.

Among the latest reports, 22 are from Kigali, three from the district among Rusizi, two from the district of Rubavu, one from the district of Kayonza and another from the district of Kirehe, according to the health ministry.

The remaining 72 new cases have been identified from a Ngoma district detention centre as per the Ministry, and are related to Rusumo cases.

The country has performed a total of 140,249 sample tests since mid-March when the first case was registered in Rwanda and confirmed two deaths.

A cabinet meeting is set to take place this week to determine whether new policies will be included in the effort to curb the country’s pandemic.

After 15 new patients were discharged from Covid-19 treatment centres on Saturday, June 27, Rwanda’s coronavirus recovery count reached 413.

According to the Ministry of Health’s daily Covid-19 report, in the last twenty-four hours, 20 new cases have been reported taking the number of active cases to 463.

Of the new cases, 15 were found in Rusizi, 3 in Rubavu and 2 in Kigali.

From 4,702 sample samples, the most recent findings were drawn. Rwanda has performed 134,749 studies nationally since the pandemic erupted in mid-March.

878 cases have been confirmed as positive from these studies, of which 413 have recovered and two people have succumbed to the virus.

The ongoing cases found in Kigali led the Local Government Ministry to enforce a complete lockdown starting on Thursday in six neighbourhoods in the capital.

Globally, the cases of coronavirus have exceeded 10 million, 5.4 million of which have recovered and nearly half a million have succumbed.

After the positive diagnosis of 22 new cases from tests carried out on Sunday, June 28, the confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) diagnosed on Rwandan territory reached the 900-mark.

Even on the same day, 30 patients discharged from the Covid-19 care centres raised the number of recoveries from coronavirus to 443 against 455 active cases.

According to Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, Rwanda Biomedical Center’s Director-General, 21 of those discharged had sought treatment at a Rusizi District hospital.

The new findings have been taken from 3,002 sample experiments while the cumulative studies conducted since the start of the pandemic are 137,751.

In a daily update by the Ministry of Health on the pandemic, it was noted that of the new cases: eight were from Rusizi, seven from Rubavu, six from the capital Kigali and one from the district of Kirehe.

Although the cases may increase in Rwanda, the Robert Koch Institute announced last week that Rwanda is no longer a risk area for Covid-19 due to efforts in the country to contain the virus.

Mass testing and general measures to combat the virus are among the efforts in place, including regular hand washing, maintaining social distance, and wearing facemasks among others.

Local government ministry on Thursday placed six villages in Kigali city under complete lockdown after five Rusizi district sectors.

Globally, the cases of coronavirus have reached 10 million, 5.5 million of which have recovered and more than half a million have succumbed.

 Coronavirus Police in the City of Kigali Rwanda arrested 17 people for allegedly violating government directives meant to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19). Those arrested include three who entered into the country from Uganda through an illegal border entry and two others, who had travelled to Kigali from Rusizi district in Rwanda.

All Rwanda Borders are closed and no one is allowed to go or leave Rusizi and Rubavu districts that are under total lockdown, as per the government directives, following the spike of cases from the western border districts. Only cargo vehicles are permitted to commute to or through these districts and borders.

Furthermore, 12 other people were arrested on Saturday for violating the curfew, with some of them found driving while drunk. Others were operating bars and those found drinking in these bars. Vedaste Uwabarengeye, who had travelled to Kigali from Rusizi, said that in the wee hours of June 13, he sneaked into Nyamasheke District from Rusizi, where he boarded a vehicle to Kigali. READ MORE…

Rwanda on Sunday, June 14, 2020, carried out over 3,495 Coronavirus tests, the highest to be conducted in a day since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak three months ago. From these tests, there were 41 positive cases of Coronavirus Covid-19, which brought the count of confirmed cases in the country to 582.

Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director-General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre noted that “Most of the new cases are household members of previously confirmed Covid-19 positive in Rusizi”, he tweeted. Rusizi has emerged as the new hotspot for the virus, a spike that is attributed to cross-border traders from DR Congo. Kamembe town, in Rusizi, is the largest concentration of cases in the region, has been put under total lockdown. READ MORE…

Rwanda CoronavirusRwanda on Tuesday confirmed five new Coronavirus COVID-19 cases, taking the tally of infected persons to 75. The new cases include four recent travellers from Dubai and another contact of a previously confirmed positive case,” the Ministry of Health announced. Authorities in a daily update late Tuesday added that all the new cases had been isolated.

The development came a day after health authorities said they had recorded no case on Monday, March 30, only the second time this had happened since the country announced its first COVID-19 case on March 13. The health ministry said all the confirmed cases were under treatment and in a stable condition. READ MORE…

On Monday, June 15, 2020, Rwanda reported 30 new Coronavirus Covid-19 cases, bringing the tally of confirmed cases to 612 since mid-March when the country registered her first case. According to the Ministry of Health, the new cases are linked to the Rusizi and Rusumo clusters, as well as repatriated Rwandans. On the same day, six (6) Covid-19 patients were discharged from treatment centres after recovery. The new cames were from 2,908 sample tests conducted over the last 24 hours. In total, the country has carried out 94,059 sample tests of Covid-19 coronavirus and recorded two deaths. READ MORE…

According to Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Rwanda is currently carrying out an assessment that will establish whether the resumption of inter-provincial movements and passenger taxi-moto services have had an impact on the prevalence of Covid-19 in the country.

Rwanda’s new Mobile Lab unit was set to will increase its COVID-19 testing capacity hence strengthening the quick response to the pandemic. Rwanda received the equipment from the East African Community in April 2020 and the mobile lab will make easy COVID-19 testing countrywide.

“This lab will almost double our COVID-19 testing capacity and its mobile nature will facilitate mass testing throughout the country,” says the Director-General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Dr Sabin Nsanzimana.

The uniquely-fitted vans are equipped to carry out the same function as a laboratory, a great addition to increase the number of samples tested per day using the available 3 testing equipment. Sampling and testing units will be deployed nationwide to all priority districts with suspected COVID-19 Coronavirus cases which will as well reduce on the turnaround time since samples will not be transported to Kigali first.

The mobile laboratory is equipped with test kits and personal protective gear including gloves, gowns, masks, goggles and shoe protectors. The mobile labs will focus on sampling a range of specimens for Polymerase chain reaction (PCR). READ MORE…

President Kagame Cheers the COVID19 Joint Task Force The President of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame applauded the COVID_19 Coronavirus Joint Task Force during his visit to the over 400 professionals from across sectors who teamed up to coordinate activities aimed at ending the spread of  COVID_19. “I am here to thank you for your commitment and dedication. You are serving selflessly, even with the knowledge that the work you are doing could have consequences on your health,” said President Kagame during his visit on 12 April 2020.

“I know that you are doing this out of selflessness, love for your country and with professionalism. All of this makes me grateful to each of you,” applauded the President.

The leader promised that the Government of Rwanda will keep doing everything possible to support the Joint Task Force so that Rwandans can return to their normal lives. President Kagame as well as commended the lockdown for helping in preventing COVID-19 spread hence containing the pandemic. READ MORE…

Rwanda National Reference Laboratory Earns High Standard AccreditationApril will be memorable for Rwanda’s National Reference Laboratory (NRL), despite the overwhelming work of testing for COVID-19 samples, the International Standards Organization accreditation (ISO115189) finally came home on 04 April 2020 after years of hard work towards achieving the high-level recognition.

The procedure of accreditation involves an independent assessment of the medical laboratory that includes an examination of personnel qualifications and competence, equipment, reagents and supplies. Also, quality assurance is among the factors that are examined. To hatch a plan to achieve all the needed qualifications, NRL a division operating under Rwanda Biomedical Center launched the laboratory accreditation process during an international conference in 2009. Then Rwanda adopted the WHO AFRO Strengthening Laboratory Management towards Accreditation (SLMTA) program, a process that prepares laboratories for higher accreditation through ranking them from 0-5 stars. READ MORE…

Rwanda has launched Anti – Epidemic Robots as one of the most recent strategies put in place to boost the fight against COVID-19 at treatment centres. The robots have the capacity to screen between  50 to 150 people per minute, deliver food and medication The robots have the capacity to screen between  50 to 150 people per minute, deliver food and medication to patient rooms, capture data, rooms, capture data, and notify officers on duty about detected abnormalities for timely response and case management.  The new development is expected to increase timeliness and efficiency in the fight against Coronavirus and reduce exposure of health workers to possible Covid-19 infection.

Launched at Kanyinya COVID-19 treatment centre on 19 May 2020, the high-tech robots are a result of a partnership between The Ministry of Health, Ministry of ICT and Innovation and The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Rwanda. READ MORE…

The World Health Conference was held virtually for the first time this year due to COVID-19 and covered only essential matters of the World Health Organization (WHO), in order to focus on the global COVID-19 pandemic response.

Rwandan delegation led by the Minister of Health Dr Daniel Ngamije attended the 73rd World Health Assembly through Video Conference, on Monday, May 18, 2020. In his remarks, Minister Ngamije shared that the focus of Rwanda is Primary Health Care.

“Rwanda considers the Primary Health Care approach as one of the most important vehicles for achieving universal health coverage. Through this approach, Rwanda reinforces a people-centred, integrated and sustainable health care system in order to ensure quality essential health care services as close to the community as possible” Said Minister Ngamije READ MORE…

Rwanda Coronavirus Update for 18th JuneRwanda on Wednesday, June 17 recorded three (3) new coronavirus cases in as many days. This brought the tally of confirmed cases to 639 countrywide. On the same day, nine patients were discharged from treatment centres after recovery, increasing the overall recovery count to 347. All these new cases were drawn from 2,508 sample tests that were run on Wednesday, as per the daily update by the Ministry of Health.

On June 18th, Rwanda still recorded low cases of Coronavirus patients, they were only 7 bringing the total number of cases to 646.

In total, the country has since the first Covid-19 on March 14 taken 99,309 sample tests of the pandemic and among those 639 were detected as positive cases, of whom 347 have since recovered. READ MORE…

Germany’s renowned Robert Koch Institute, on Thursday, June 18, announced that it is no longer considering Rwanda as a Covid-19 risk area, owing to the country’s recent containment measures against the virus. The announcement came after the country had not featured on the institute’s list of Covid-19 risk areas in the past four days. This makes Rwanda the only country in the region that has not featured on the list.

On the same list, 136 territories are high Covid-19 risk, 29 of which are USA states. Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is Germany’s central scientific institution in the field of biomedicine.  The institute is one of the most important bodies for ensuring public health in the country especially during the coronavirus era. READ MORE…

Rwanda Coronavirus Update 19th JuneRwanda on Friday, June 19 reported 15 new cases of Covid-19, who according to the Ministry of Health, are linked to the Rusizi and Rusumo clusters. “New cases driven by the Rusizi and Rusumo clusters,” the Ministry of Health Rwanda noted in its Covid-19 daily update.

The two areas have been the leading hotspots of Covid-19 in Rwanda for the past couple of weeks, and most of these patients are cross-border traders and truck-drivers.

On the same day, one Covid-19 patient was discharged after full recovery. The latest results were obtained from 3,033 sample tests showing the country’s continued increase in the number of tests conducted in a single day. READ MORE…

Rwanda Coronavirus Updates 20th JuneRwanda on Saturday, June 20 reported 41 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the tally of confirmed cases to 702. The latest total number of new infections has been the highest number of daily cases that Rwanda has recorded since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

According to the Ministry of Health Rwanda, the new infections are linked to the Rusizi and Rusumo clusters. “New cases driven by the Rusizi and Rusumo clusters,” the Ministry noted in its Covid-19 Coronavirus daily update.

The two areas have been the leading hotspots of Covid-19 in Rwanda for the past couple of weeks, and most of these patients are cross-border traders and truck-drivers. READ MORE…

Rwanda Coronavirus Updates 21st JuneRwanda on Sunday, June 21 reported 26 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the tally of active cases to 367 against 359 recoveries. In a daily update on the pandemic by the Ministry of Health Rwanda, it was noted that of the new cases; 18 were detected in Rusizi district, two at Rusumo and 6 cases found in Kigali.

The Ministry also noted that the new cases include those detected from the community. The latest update was obtained from 3,252 sample tests. In total, the country has since mid-March conducted 111,257 sample tests. For the past few weeks, Rusizi and Rusumo have been the leading hotspots of new Covid-19 coronavirus infections. READ MORE…

Rwanda Coronavirus Update 22nd JuneThe government of Rwanda has called upon high vigilance amongst the public, especially in the City of Kigali, after two taxi moto operators in Kigali tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, June 21.

Speaking to state radio on Monday morning, Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director-General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), revealed that the two were sampled from ongoing mass testing that is targeting all taxi moto operators in the city. “They were discovered through the ongoing mass testing of taxi moto operators, which we have been conducting for the past five days,” Nsanzimana said. READ MORE…

Rwanda Coronavirus Update 18th JuneThe 2020 Rwanda International Trade Fair, Expo2020, has been postponed to December 11-31 due to Covid-19 pandemic. It was expected to take place from July 21-August 10. The 23rd Trade Fair has been postponed due to the fact that Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the movement of international exhibitors.

Rwanda Private Sector Federation, the organizers of the exhibition, announced the postponement on Thursday, June 18. READ MORE…

Rwanda Coronavirus Updates 19th JuneCoronavirus deaths are still rising around the world, having already soared over 8.5 million by Thursday. Economies are plunging into recession. And now there are mass global protests against racial inequity and social injustice.

It is tempting to draw an analogy with one of the old science-fiction movies in which the world was about to explode and the valiant hero – who was unfortunately usually male – would have to find a way to transport the survivors safely to another planet to begin all over again.

Fortunately, our world is now transforming rather than ending and current leaders of all types and genders do not have to start completely from scratch in the “New Normal” beyond Corona, which is likely to begin next year. READ MORE…

Rwanda Coronavirus Update 20th JuneThe Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete has said that cross border trade is progressing well, despite the measures in place to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. “Trade is going well. In 24 hours, we receive between 400 and 500 cross border trucks at Rusumo border. Sometimes they are more. At Kagitumba, it is between 45 and 60 while at Cyanika, they are between 9 and 15.”

Rusumo is Rwanda’s gateway to Tanzania on the Central Corridor while Kagitumba and Cyanika link Rwanda to Uganda and serves as the gateway to the port of Mombasa in Kenya, through the Northern Corridor. READ MORE…

Dubai Ruling FamilyOn 14th June 2020, Rwanda received over 300,000 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical equipment from H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid A1 Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, and his wife H.H. Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Junta A1 Maktoum (the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ruling family). DP World and One&Only hotels in Rwanda assisted with the logistics of the delivery of these items from Dubai. “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the First Lady. Sheikha Hind, are determined to do their bit to support the people of Rwanda during this difficult time. They are very focused on extending their assistance and friendship to help others battling this awful pandemic,” said H.E. Mohammed Al Shaihani. Executive Director and CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) and Chairman of the Board that manages One & Only hotels. READ MORE…

As part of its response to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic crisis around the world, the Government of Rwanda on 13th June donated testing medical kits to the peacekeeping United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) as part of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is part of the earlier promised 200 test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE’s) to the mission in support of international efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

Brig Gen Eugene Nkubito, who represented Rwanda said:” The medical kits will contribute to mass testing and sampling for Coronavirus COVID-19 within peacekeepers in UNMISS. He said, “COVID-19 is a common enemy to mankind, and cooperation is the way to defeat the pandemic”. READ MORE…

Coronavirus Covid-19 casesRwanda on Saturday, June 13 reported 31 new Coronavirus-COVID-19 confirmed cases- the highest since mid-March when the country registered her first case. On the same day, 11 patients were discharged from treatment centres after recovery. The results were from 2,043 sample tests. In a statement, the Ministry of Health noted that “Rusizi cluster and Rusumo continue to drive new cases” hence urging “heightened vigilance everywhere”.

The country has seen a rise in the number of positive cases since the beginning of June and has placed two border districts Rusizi and Rubavu bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo under total lockdown even as the rest of the country slowly eases back to normal life. Rwanda has been receiving its citizens stranded in other countries, and all returnees go through a mandatory 14-day quarantine. READ MORE…

Rwanda’s Coronavirus COVID-19 Cases Increase to 500 Rwanda’s coronavirus cases have increased to 510 after 16 cases were registered in the country on Friday, June 12, according to the latest update from the Ministry of Health. According to the Ministry’s daily Covid-19 update, the new cases are related to the Rusizi cluster and repatriated Rwandans. Rusizi District has been the latest hotspot for coronavirus, which was first traced in cross-border traders a few days ago.

Subsequently, the government, on instruction from the health ministry, imposed a lockdown on sectors that make up Kamembe town, which borders DR Congo. On top of Kamembe, Nkombo island on Lake Kivu was also put on lockdown as part of the effort to curtail Covid-19 cases in the region. According to the ministry, the latest cases have been isolated and contacts traced. The status report indicates that eight patients were discharged after full recovery in the past 24 hours. READ MORE…

Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) on Thursday, June 11 launched a project aimed at equipping community health workers with digital technology and data tools to facilitate response and prevention of COVID-19. This project, which is worth Rwf 223 million, is co-funded by the French Agency for Research on AIDS and viral hepatitis (ANRS) and by the French Embassy.

Two other French research institutes namely Institut Pasteur and INSERM will take part in the project implementation and evaluation. RBC said the project will promote wider and faster detection of cases, help in contact tracing, support social reintegration of recoveries and ensure a link between the population and the health system in Rwanda. READ MORE…

UNMISS Women Network Mourn Rwandan Colleague

Coronavirus- Covid-19The UN-Police Women Network under the peacekeeping body; Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), on Tuesday, held a memorial function in honour of Police Constable (PC) Enid Mbabazi who passed on. Mbabazi, aged 24, was a member of Rwanda Formed Police Unit-One (FPU-1) hybrid of 240 Police officers deployed in Malakal. She succumbed to Coronavirus-COVID-19 on June 2, at the King Faisal Hospital after she was evacuated back home for further treatment.

The virtual memorial function was held across all UNMISS field offices where fellow UN Police peacekeepers eulogized Mbabazi’s amiable character; how she touched hearts of all she met or worked with, and condoled with her country and family. READ MORE…

Rwanda on 14th March 2020, through its Ministry of Health, reported the country’s first case of COVID-19. The patient was an Indian citizen, a male who arrived from Mumbai, India on 08 March 2020. However, the patient had no symptoms upon arrival in Rwanda. He reported himself to a health facility on 13 March, where he was immediately tested and the results were positive. He is currently under treatment in stable conditions, isolated from other patients. This is the second case in East Africa after Kenya recorded the first case on Friday.

President Paul Kagame; the president of the Republic of Rwanda on Saturday 14th March 2020 advised Rwanda to remain calm and focus on simple but effective measures that are key to keeping each other and everyone safe.   “As the world faces the COVID19 pandemic, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families and their loved ones. We wish strength to the health workers on the frontlines and quick recovery to all patients,” President Kagame said. READ MORE…