Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente says government has put in place preparedness and response mechanisms to deal with a possible COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak.
In a public notice issued Thursday night in both English and Kinyarwanda, the PM said: “No case of Coronavirus has been reported in Rwanda so far”.
“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.”
Dr Ngirente says Government set up a multidisciplinary team to assess and strengthen preparedness and response to the epidemic.
The team has issued a set of guidelines for public behavior and conduct. The team has also designated and is preparing isolation places or quarantine rooms for cases that may arise.
At the Rwanda Military Hospital in Kigali, 25 isolation rooms are being prepared. The Catholic church’s Kabgayi Hospital in Muhanga district, about 60km south of Kigali, some 120 rooms are being readied.
At Kanyinya health center in Kigali, officials are preparing 50 rooms. The Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) also says all the country’s 80 facilities with hospital status will each set aside 2 rooms to be designed and prepared for Coronavirus cases.
So far, 430 medical staff have been trained in handling the outbreak.
Rwanda, like all member states of the East African Community (EAC) has acquired a COVID-19 diagnostic kit and testing center. It means once there is a suspected case, results are available in less than 72hours.
RBC personnel are also conducting screenings of coronavirus at all 30 entry points along Rwandan borders and a much more sophisticated system in place at the Kigali International Airport.
Already, national carrier RwandAir has suspended its direct flights to China.
However, unlike what has been seen in affected countries where everyone is wearing a mask, the authorities in Rwanda have not directed people to do so. In any case, the logistics of acquiring a mask will also be an issue; will they be sold or freely distributed.
PUBLIC NOTICE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER ON CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019
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;
Based on an assessment by the task-force, the Government of Rwanda would like to inform the general public of the following:
•No case of Coronavirus has been reported in Rwanda so far;
•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.
Therefore, 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 Ministry of Health and other relevant institutions will continue to work on adequate strategies in the prevention and fight against this epidemic.