COVID-19: What is Behind the Recent Spike in Cases?

Dr Mpunga during the talk show.

The Ministry of Health says the sudden eruption of the Mt Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) in May, forcing thousands of Congolese to cross the border to Rwanda for safety and daily repatriation of Rwandans from Uganda, are among causes of the surging Covid-19 cases across the country.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Health in charge of Primary Healthcare, Lt Col Dr. Tharcisse Mpunga,  says it is the first time Rwanda has recorded over 700 to 800 Covid-19 cases every day since the pandemic hit the country in March last year, putting out that currently virus has been spread into communities and to all age groups.

“The Covid-19 treatment centers that were closed after the virus subsidizing have been reopened because of the surging cases. They are all full, many patients are in critical conditions, and the death rate has also increased. This is a challenging time, and it needs everyone to put extra efforts for us to return to normal days,” Dr. Mpunga said.

“Last month, many people from our neighboring country crossed the border following the Volcanic eruption, there were many, and it created relaxation of Covid-19 preventive measures as people gathered in small spaces without preventive measures being observed,” Dr. Mpunga said.

“In another neighboring country, Uganda, they are in the lockdown because of the many Covid-19 cases and there are many Rwandans who keep repatriating every day, of which, some are infected. All these are situations that cause the spreading of the pandemic and surging cases. However, there is also relaxation in observing preventive measures locally, people have started attending parties and breaking the set directives,” he added.

Dr. Mpunga said that the virus is spreading at a rate that is unexpected and requires personal responsibility in observing the preventive measures.

The Minister of State in the Ministry of Health in charge of Primary Healthcare explained the current status of Covid-19 on state television on 6, July 2021.

 Dangerous Covid-19 Variant.

Dr. Mpunga said that the virus has mutated into a version that is more dangerous to people’s lives despite the age and it has been changing not only in Rwanda but also in other countries.

He said that the more the pandemic spreads further, elderly people continue to be the most affected and risk their lives because of people who conduct visitations in their homes.

“The Covid-19 carried out mutation, the more it mutated, the more dangerous. All of us have been affected by the pandemic and it can affect our lives despite our age,”  Dr. Mpunga said.

Dr. Mpunga said that the more the Coronavirus spreads it affects people with low immune systems and is spread by people who visit them.

According to the Ministry of Health, the Covid-19 testing prices have not yet changed, and those who could be increasing prices are ‘stealing’ people.

The Covid-19 rapid test still stands at Rwf10,000 and the CPR test is Rwf50,000.

“The test prices are known, they haven’t changed, rapid stands at Rwf10,000 and CPR test is at Rwf50,000, those who could have reduced prices, we don’t know where they could have got testing kits and those who are increasing prices, are stealing from people, ”Dr. Mpunga said.

However, Dr. Mpunga said that prices could be reduced in the future, but currently testing prices haven’t changed yet.

According to the Ministry of Health, 15,000 patients are being treated in their homes.

“Prevention is very crucial, as the numbers keep increasing, health workers and doctors lessen. So, it means if people don’t take prevention to be important, they could fail to get treatment as soon as it has been in the previous days,” Dr. Mpunga said.

He added that as cases increase treatment and other health care services become more difficult.

50,000  arrested in 4 days

According to Rwanda National Police, 50,000 people were arrested in only four days for allegedly breaking Covid-19 preventive measures across the country.

“These are the people we managed to arrest, it is very worrisome. Opening bars at the moment they have been closed is not sudden. It seems people break directives intentionally,  parties have become parties, we arrest people and front them before the media, but people don’t learn from mistakes. The breaking of preventive measures has become relentless,” CP John Bosco Kabera, Spokesperson of Rwanda Police said.

CP John Bosco Kabera

CP Kabera said that no one will protect people from being infected by the virus, apart from taking individual responsibility.

“It is possible to reduce these surging cases, but people need to be responsible if we are to reverse this trend,” Kabera added.

Last week, the government further toughened measures meant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic whose latest wave is becoming worrisome.

The curfew hours were extended whereby movements are prohibited between 6 PM and 4 AM with businesses closing at 5 PM.

The meetings and church services were also prohibited and all offices were closed.

Offices (public and private) were also closed. The government directed staff to work from home except those providing essential services.

Restaurants were also directed to operate only offering to take away services.

Also, the government prohibited social gatherings both from homes and public places, among other directives.

All decisions were taken to save the citizens after the virus became severer.

As of July 6, 2021, Rwanda had recorded 44,279 cases. Of them, 28,391 recovered but another 15,379 people are still active patients.

The pandemic has so far killed 491 people.

Rwanda has so far vaccinated 392, 003 people including Rwandans, expatriates, refugees among others.




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