The first batch of patients who tested positive of New Coronavirus will be released from hospital mid next week in what could present a ray of hope in the fight against the virus which has so far been diagnosed in 50 people.
According to the Minister of Health Dr Daniel Ngamije, the first group of patients identified earlier this month have recovered steadily and are likely to be discharged next week to go back to their respective families in what could be a major breakthrough for the country in managing the virus.
Dr Ngamije, while appearing on Rwanda Television said that there has been progress in handling the cases identified so far, with the first group recovering well while new cases are also being handled. Save for monitoring temperature changes, the Minister said that the patients have healed.
“We have patients in different categories based on their age groups. Some are young, others are slightly older, 41 and above, but they are all doing well. The first group will be discharged next week, probably. None is in critical condition but we are still observing them,” Dr Ngamije said.
“Most of those in the first group no longer show the signs. They are testing negative after treatment but we continue to monitor them, their temperature especially. When we ascertain that they are no longer at risk, they will be discharged,” he added.
Rwanda has so far registered 50 cases, with 9 new cases announced on Thursday, adding to the already confirmed 41 cases.
Without naming names, Dr Ngamije said that the patients’ privacy is still being observed but they will be shown to the media upon discharge next week.
He explained that the number of contacts linked to the patients, the people they could have met, exceeds 1, 000 but over 900 have been traced, tested and isolated where necessary.
The government has designated locations in different parts of the city, mainly hotels where all people who arrived in the country recently and contacts of already confirmed patients are being quarantined for at least 14 days as part of the efforts to stop the possible spread of Coronavirus.
Dr Ngamije said that isolation centres are designed in a manner that makes those in quarantine feel comfortable, physically and psychologically and are being taken care of by the government.
“Each one of them has a room with a TV set and other amenities. We provide for them three meals a day while those with older children are given an extra room for the child. So far there is no problem, they are all adhering to quarantine procedures,”
“We take their samples and test, when we find some are infected, we move them to treatment centres and immediately start treatment and also trace all their contacts. We also understand that even though they may not show signs, sometimes they turn out positive so we have to make sure they complete the 14 days,” he added.
Dr Ngamije also explained why many cases came from Dubai, nearly 90 per cent of all positive cases, stating that Dubai being the market of the world, many people travel there for business while others transit through.
“Dubai is the trade hub of the world. Many Rwandans like other people from across the world go there for business purposes. When they heard that we were planning to close the borders, they all came at once, fearing not to be caught on the other side of the borders,”
“It is therefore not surprising that most of these cases came from Dubai,” Dr Ngamije said, adding that since borders were closed and flights cancelled, they are confident that no more cases will enter the country from outside.
The Health Minister urged Rwandans to continue observing the measures put in place by the government because it is not yet over as measures continue to be enforced to ensure that there is no room for new infections.
Minister Ngamije reiterated regional efforts to stop the spreading of the virus across borders, referring to the recent meeting of Ministers of Health of the East African Community who met virtually on Wednesday and came up with measures to stop cross-border infections.
The Ministers noted the existence of an Adhoc Regional Coordination Committee on COVID -19 response and resolved to add members from each Partner States – National Task force on COVID -19.
The Ministers Responsible for Health and Ministers responsible for East African Community Affairs directed all Partner States to continue implementing mandatory quarantine for 14 days for all travellers to the region, and avoid imported cases by implementing strict screening procedures at all border points.
It was resolved that suspension of EAC regional face-to-face meetings be maintained while EAC Organs and institutions were urged to utilize Modern Technology such as video-conferences, Webinars and Skype Calls for holding such meetings until such a time when the situation has been contained.
The meeting directed that all Partner States implement 100% exit and entry screenings by applying the multilayer mechanism to avoid some loopholes, such as transit Passengers.