COVID-19: Govt halts commercial flights as Rwanda registers 11 cases

The government has announced serious travel restrictions including halting all passenger flights in and out of the country, as Rwanda registered three new cases of people infected with coronavirus (COVID-19), increasing the cases to 11.

A statement from the Ministry of Health on Wednesday March 18, stated that the three additional coronavirus cases were identified through a positive diagnosis on the same day.

 

The patients include an Indian woman 37, who arrived in Rwanda on March 8, 2020 from Mumbai and she happens to be a spouse to the first confirmed case that was announced on Saturday March 14.

 

The other cases are two Rwandan males; a 26 year old who has no recent travel history, and a 45 year old who arrived on March 16, 2020 from Belgium via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, according to the statement.

 

To further mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak, the government announced that all arriving and departing commercial passenger flights, including the national carrier RwandAir, will be halted beginning at midnight on 20 March 2020 for an initial period of 30 days.

Cargo and emergency flights will operate, to allow for the country to continue getting the necessary supplies, according to the directive.

"Heightened vigilance is required from all residents of Rwanda. Continue to observe the instructions of health authorities, particularly washing hands regularly, avoiding large gatherings, and limiting unnecessary movements." the communique read.

The ministry said that all confirmed coronavirus patients remain under treatment in stable condition, isolated from other patients and the tracing of all contacts has been conducted for further management.

According to the ministry, the initial two week period of closure for schools and places of worship may be revised and expanded based on prevailing circumstances.

The closure of schools and places of worship was announced this past weekend, following the positive diagnosis of the first case on Rwandan territory.

The key symptoms of coronavirus are dry cough, shortness of breath, and fever.
Anyone experiencing such symptoms should call the toll-free number 114.

Handwashing has been recommended as one of the most effective precautionary measures to take. 

Among others is avoiding handshakes, and touching your own face because it can transfer the virus from your hands to the openings like the mouth and nose.

The coronavirus has become a pandemic with more cases being confirmed in almost every corner of the world.

The virus has attacked more than 200,000 people and killed more than 8,000 globally, with over 83,000 people having recovered from the infection, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

hkuteesa@newtimesrwanda.com

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