The Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente has issued fresh directives aimed at averting a possible spread of the deadly New Coronavirus as the epidemic spreads to different African countries.
Rwanda has not registered a case of New Coronavirus but as the virus continues to be detected in different African countries, Rwanda is on high alert to ensure that the virus which has so far been detected in South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia does not reach Rwanda.
Rwanda has tightened measures to prevent Coronavirus, including setting up cameras at Kigali International Airport and all entry points as well as placing hand washing equipment and sanitizers in public places.
The Prime Minister’s directives are based on the findings of a taskforce set up to tighten the preparedness of the country to deal with a possible outbreak.
“In order to prevent and mitigate the risk of Coronavirus (Covid-19) transmission; The Government of Rwanda has set up a multidisciplinary team to assess and strengthen preparedness and response to the epidemic,” an announcement from the PM’s Office reads.
It adds that based on an assessment by the task-force, no case of Coronavirus has been reported or detected in Rwanda but the government has increased levels of preparedness as the strain which started in China continues to claim lives across the globe.
“Rwanda has put in place preparedness and response mechanisms to deal with a possible outbreak. However, given the severity of the epidemic and rapidity with which it spreads, we urge all Rwandans to take appropriate precautions and follow the advice of health professionals,”
“This virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also spreads rapidly between people in close contact with one another through handshaking, or touching an infected person,” the directives read.
As a result, Rwandans have been urged to avoid shaking hands or hugging. Traditionally, Rwandan greeting involves heavy contact including hugging, shaking hands and pecking among other forms of greeting which involve body-to-body contact.
However, the forms of greetings have been identified as dangerous in the wake. The new directives however might change how Rwandans socialize.
“We urge everyone to avoid especially handshaking and close body contact e.g. hugging. Avoid unnecessary travels to countries affected by Coronavirus, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing in public,”
“Wash your hands with clean water and soap or hand sanitizer, avoid contact with others whenever you have flu-like symptoms, cough or high fever, contact the nearest health facility if you have one of the following symptoms: flu, fever, running nose, and cough with sore throat,” the PM advisory note adds.
The Premier said the Ministry of Health and other relevant institutions will continue to work on adequate strategies in the prevention and fight against this epidemic.
The virus which is fast spreading in Europe and Asia is yet to make a major impact on the African continent Algeria registering the highest number of 17 cases on the continent.
Outside Asia, Italy has reported 41 the highest number of Coronavirus deaths, recording 41 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday. Over 3,000 people have died in China since the outbreak began in December.
The U.S has registered 12 fatalities on Thursday. More than 225 cases have been confirmed across the U.S