Rwanda Coronavirus Update 19th June: Rwanda No Longer a COVID-19 Risk Area

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.

According to a statement released by the RKI, the research informs the Federal Government on the decision to take in regard to incoming travellers.

For instance, it is mandatory that all international travelling to Germany and have in the previous 14 days (2 weeks) been in a risk area are entitled to quarantine regulations of the responsible federal states.

This spells good news to the people of Rwanda, according to Dr Daniel Ngamije, Minister of Health posted on his Twitter page while he commented on the development.

“Rwanda is a secured place to go as far as Covid19 is concerned. Got the message from German Ambassador Dr Thomas Kurz,” the Minister said in a Tweet.

According to the Institute, the classification as a risk area is based on joint analysis and the decision by the German Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior, for construction and home.

The statement indicates that classifying a risk area is based on a two-stage assessment.

100,000 Covid-19 tests

The first step is determined in areas which have recorded more than 50 newly infected people per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days.

While for the second step, qualitative criteria are used to determine whether there is still a risk of an increased infection risk for countries/regions that are nominally below the specified limit.

Results for the evaluation are in particular the number of infections and the type of outbreak (locally limited or area-wide), test capacities as well as tests carried out per inhabitant as well as measures taken in the states to contain the infection process (hygiene regulations, contact tracking etc.)

The announcement comes on the same day Rwanda surpassed 100, 000 tests for coronavirus, according to Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, Director General at Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC).

“Today, National Reference Lab has surpassed 100,000 Coronavirus Covid-19 and confirmed 646 positive cases,” he added.

According to Nsanzimana, Rwanda’s testing capacity increased 15 fold in 4 months and has been scaled up across the country.

However, the Institute also takes into account if there is no reliable information for certain countries such as test capacities, as well as tests, carried out per inhabitant as well as measures taken to contain the infection process (hygiene regulations, contact tracking etc.).

“There may be short term changes, especially an expansion of this list. Please check immediately before starting your trip whether you have been in one of these areas within the last 14 days before entering Germany. In these cases, you have to expect an obligation to separate,” the statement reads in part.

In other instances, the country has deployed a national Covid-19 command post that coordinates all frontline activities of the fight against the pandemic.

Similarly, the country last month launched the use of robots in the fight against Covid-19, in a move aimed at reducing contact between medics and patients.

The public is also encouraged to observe health measures put in place, including, wearing a face mask, keeping a one-meter distance while in public, among others.

As of 19th June 2020, Rwanda has recorded 646 coronavirus cases, with 350 patients discharged while two patients have lost their lives.