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The Delta variant has been detected in at least 98 countries around the world and is quickly becoming the dominant strain in many countries. Photo Nation Media Group


The latest diagnostics and symptoms manifested in Covid-19 patients in Rwanda confirm the presence of Delta Variant in the country, an official has said.  

Dr Daniel Ngamije, Rwanda's Minister of Health, said the current virus spreads faster, is deadlier and has symptoms different from what was known before. 

“Our assessment shows that the Delta Variant is present in Rwanda. From discussions with frontline doctors and patients, severity of the disease, new symptoms such as headache, fatigue and breathing complications, it is obvious that Delta Variant is present,” Dr Ngamije said in an interview with the national broadcaster on Thursday.

“It used to take at least two months for Rwanda to reach such a big number of infections. For this wave, it took just four weeks to peak; another characteristic of the Delta variant.”

The minister had previously announced that Rwanda was conducting a survey to identify the various variants of the coronavirus in the country.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of July 3, the Delta Variant has been detected in at least 98 countries around the world and is quickly becoming the dominant strain in many countries. Rwanda’s neighbours, Kenya and Uganda, have already confirmed the presence of the variant in the countries.

On July 7, Rwanda recorded 16 deaths, the highest number recorded since the first Covid-19 case in March 2020. The number brought the total death toll to 507. The current positivity rate stands at 9.6 percent, with the country having 45,039 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 18,000 of which were recorded in the last five weeks.

Slightly over four percent of the 12.6 million population have received at least the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Minister Ngamije emphasised that while the government works to secure more vaccine doses, the public should comply with current guidelines in place to minimise risk of infection. - Ange Iliza, The EastAfrican

A health worker briefs of Al-Haramain Secondary School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on June 1, 2020. Schools in Tanzania have reopened, with President Samia Suluhu’s government saying it is revising its earlier guidelines on curbing the spread of Covid-19. Photo ERICKY BONIPHACE/AFP


Schools in Tanzania reopened Monday, with the government saying it is revising its earlier guidelines on curbing the spread of Covid-19.

Health Ministry permanent Secretary Abel Makubi said the government reached a decision to revise the guidelines following a rapid increase in the number of Covid-19 infections globally.

“The Health Ministry has been closely following the Covid-19 outbreak trend within and outside the country and found that the number of patients has been increasing in the recent past, signalling the presence of transmissions in our communities,” Prof Makubi told a press conference in Dodoma.

He said the government revisited its 2020 Covid-19 preventive guidelines to schools, universities and educational institutions and made some improvements on them.

“This guideline is targeting to create a conducive environment [in] the educational institutions including universities, primary and secondary schools, nursery schools and day-care centres before students resume classes,” noted Prof Makubi.

To make that happen, the guideline has considered four areas. These are preparation of a conducive environment in educational institutions before resumption of studies, health examination, public transport to and from school and the learning environment.

He said the Education ministry and other concerned ministries should ensure that all educational institutions install hand-washing facilities.

He added that students and teachers should be educated on how to prevent the spread of the disease.

He said administrations should ensure students and staff observe at least one metre physical distance at all times.

For schools and universities with large numbers of students, he directed them to adopt the shift system.

Use of masks

“The Education ministry should ensure schools and universities prioritise the correct use of masks. Students, teachers, lecturers should put them on at all times,” directed Prof Makubi.

He added that students who are confirmed to be Covid-19 positive should remain at home until they recover.

Covid vaccine

Prof Makubi on Sunday also said that Tanzania has joined the international Covax facility that helps low income countries to get subsidised Covid-19 vaccines from manufacturers abroad. The country will receive its Covid-19 vaccine doses between December 2021 and January 2022, he added.

At the same time, the Tanzanian government is pondering manufacturing vaccines for Covid-19 and other diseases due to their high demand. This will also cut costs of obtaining the vaccines, Prof Makubi added.

Tanzania has begun steps to build a local factory which will be used to produce Covid-19 vaccines, he said, adding that the country has expertise to manufacture such vaccines. - Mohamed Issa, The Citizen

Students get their temperature measured before class at Lycee Notre dame de Citeaux school in Kigali, Rwanda, on November 2, 2020. Photo SIMON WOHLFAHRT/AFP


Rwanda has imposed a partial lockdown to curb the surging cases of Covid-19.

A statement released by the Prime Minister’s office on Tuesday orders the closure of schools and universities and prohibits church services, meetings and all social gatherings, effective July 1.

The 7pm-4am curfew was revised and the curfew will now run from 6pm to 4am.

Movements between Kigali and other districts have been banned except for essential services, while business have been asked to close by 5pm. Restaurants will only offer takeaway services.

Kigali City and districts of Burera, Kamonyi, Gicumbi, Rwamagana, Rubavu, Nyagatare, Rutsiro and Musanze that have recorded more cases of infections will follow stricter guidelines than the rest of the country. Most of the above districts neighbour the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda that are experiencing a spike in infections. 

The new guidelines come just a week after the cabinet meeting had tightened guidelines. 

“Given the surge in Covid-19 cases, and the emergence of new variants globally, the government has decided to take additional measures to control the further spread of the virus,” the statement read in part. 

Rwanda has been experiencing a severe surge in Covid-19 infections since early May where daily records and deaths increased over four times. 

The Ministry of Health said that more young people are getting infected and dying from the virus, and more patients are symptomatic. 

The spike is attributed to complacency in adhering to preventive measures by the public and the wave of infections in neighbouring Uganda and DR Congo. 

“We need the public to collaborate and adhere to these measures to see results. These measures were tightened to sustain what we have achieved so far. The previous measures have worked and we need to collaborate on this as well,” Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente said. 

As of Monday, Rwanda recorded 757 new infections and its positivity rate stands at 11 percent. 

So far, Rwanda has vaccinated 391,739 people. It targets to vaccinate 60 percent of its 12 million population by July 2022. - Ange Iliza, The EastAfrican

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