Interview: Response measures, public support contribute to decline in new COVID-19 cases in Rwanda: says official

Various response measures and public support have contributed to a drop in COVID-19 cases in Rwanda, Rwandan State Minister in charge of Primary Healthcare Tharcisse Mpunga said on Monday.

Rwanda reported fewer new cases in the past month, after pulling through a surge starting in mid-August. On Monday, it reported a total of 4,992 cases, with 4,797 recoveries and 34 deaths.

“A COVID-19 response plan has been implemented countrywide,” said Mpunga in a phone interview with Xinhua, adding that the implementation of the measures has enabled the installation of sanitation facilities in public places in capital Kigali and other towns.

Key containment measures contributing to the drop in new cases include tracing, testing, social distancing, closure of businesses as well as curfews, said Mpunga.

The government is also communicating with the general public about the prevention of COVID-19, who has been compliant in adhering to the measures, he added.

Despite the positive results, Mpunga warned that “it is too early to say Rwanda has won the battle against COVID-19.”

Clusters of new cases have been reported recently in refugee camps in Kirehe district in Southeast Rwanda and Karongi district in West Rwanda.

The crowdedness of the camps and most patients there being asymptomatic have made it difficult to contain the spread of the virus, Mpunga said.

Health teams have been trained in Kirehe and Karongi and experts have been dispatched to the camps, he added.