When the first case of coronavirus was first identified in Rwanda on March 13, 2020, the country was quick to act.
Incoming travellers underwent screening and suspicious cases quarantined immediately and positive cases were taken for treatment.
When the number of positive cases hit 17 within a week, drastic measures were needed. A nationwide lockdown was declared, borders closed except for returning residents and nationals and a massive contact tracing exercise was conducted.
One can confidently say that the virus has been contained to some extent since there are no community infections and all new cases are imported and intercepted at the borders.
Before flights were suspended, all arriving passengers were immediately taken into seclusion and monitored. So, for the last two months, hundreds, if not thousands of suspicious cases have been quarantined at the government’s expense.
It was a smart but expensive move on the part of the government as it avoided what other countries experienced when they obliged quarantined people to foot their own bills. Some could not afford it, so when night fell they simply jumped over the confinement walls and melted into the streets thereby helping propagate the virus.
As we have argued within these pages in the past, the virus will only be defeated if everyone plays their part and not leave everything to the state.
Today the government can afford to tell people to foot their own quarantine bills because the storm has calmed even though it has not completely passed.
It is not too much of a sacrifice to make taking into consideration that the government is still covering the cost of hospitalisation and treatment.