June 14, 2020

How Prepared is Rwanda to Rollback COVID-19 Measures? Oxford University Says its Well Prepared

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The Rwanda Defence Force last week received a variety of personal protective equipment from China for fighting Covid-19, worth about US$290,000

An Oxford University study has placed Rwanda among well prepared countries that qualify to rollback COVID-19 measures.

The countries ranked in the top 10 on their preparedness were New Zealand, Greenland, Rwanda, Taiwan, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Seychelles, Slovak Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Vietnam.

The ranking comes as Rwanda has seen a strange explosion in the number of infections. On Saturday, 31 new cases were recorded, the highest daily figure.

Currently, except for one of the 30 districts, Rusizi which is on lockdown, and Rubavu with restricted travel, the rest of the country is relatively open. But gatherings, prayers, bars and dance clubs still remain closed.

Schools are closed up to September. Public transport is operational but with each bus carrying half the previous number of passengers.

There is a still a long list of restrictions still in place, including public and private sector keeping some of their staff to work from home.

The Oxford study was done by examining which countries meet four of the World Health Organisation’s six recommendations for relaxing their physical distancing measures

Those recommendations include having Covid-19 transmission controlled “to a level of sporadic cases and clusters of cases, all from known contact” or at a minimum reduced to a level that the health system can cope with, ensuring sufficient public health workforce is in place for track and trace efforts and making sure the risk of exporting and importing cases from communities with high transmission case is minimised.

Oxford then puts together a “lockdown rollback table” based on data from the recommendations combined with epidemiological information from the European Centre for Disease Control, as well as Apple and Google travel and mobility stats. The scientists state the table produced “roughly describes” how ready countries are to ease their restrictions.

The researchers say: “As of June 1 2020, we estimate that only a handful of countries come close to meeting the 4 WHO recommendations we were able to estimate with the OxCGRT data, however there are about 30-50 which are close on several measures.”

“We conclude that further steps are likely needed to ensure a safe reopening of society in the next weeks.”

The UK came in 191st place in the study of 195 countries – just below South Sudan. The only countries ranked as less ready to ease their restrictions were Algeria, Nicaragua and Iran.

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