Rwanda has confirmed the presence of six variants of COVID-19 including Delta,SARS-CoV-2, Beta, Epsilon, Eta and another unknown variant.
The confirmation was made by the Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Ngamije on Sunday 25th July 2021 as he shed light on factors that informed the Government’s decision to extend tightened COVID-19 containment measures.
The Government of Rwanda has extended existing measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 including the lockdown imposed in Kigali City and eight districts.
The eight districts concerned with the decision include Burera, Gicumbi, Kamonyi, Musanze, Nyagatare, Rubavu, Rwamagana and Rutsiro.
The 10-day lockdown (from 17th till 26th July 2021) extended for five days yesterday was initially imposed by the virtual cabinet meeting held on Wednesday 14th July 2021 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic which has been on steady rise.
The communiqué released by the Office of Prime Minister shows that new measures will take effect from 27th through 31st July 2021.
Other measures taken during the previous cabinet meeting have been also extended where movements and visits outside home are still prohibited except for essential services such as healthcare, food shopping, banking and for personnel performing such services.
Appearing in RBA talk show, Minister Ngamije said that sample tests taken during the 10-day lockdown pinpointed Kigali City as the major hotspot for new cases.
Following the imposition of lockdown, the Ministry of Health conducted mass testing in different parts of the country to know the status of the pandemic.
Since then, 3965 positive cases equivalent to 3.7% were found in Kigali City out of 107 106 sample tests as at 23rd July 2021.
In general, 4.5% of these cases were found in Kicukiro district, 3.8% in Gasabo and 2.5% in Nyarugenge district.
Dr. Ngamije has revealed health workers conducted more deep tests to detect if there is presence of new variants among new cases.
These tests came out with results indicating that 56.6% of newly infected people were detected with Delta variant of COVID-19 which emerged in India for the first time while 20 percent were detected with SARS-CoV-2.
Among others, conducted tests show that 1.6% of patients were detected with Beta variant first identified in South Africa, 0.4 percent were found with symptoms of B.1.526 variant known as Eta that emerged for the first time in the United Kingdom.
More 15.7% sample tests were detected with Epsilon variant of COVID-19 that emerged in California, United States of America for the first time while 5.4% were detected with unknown variant.
Figures from the Ministry of Health show that 742 people have succumbed to COVID-19 since it emerged in Rwanda on 14th March 2020.
So far, nine variants of COVID-19 have been reported since the first case was confirmed in China in 2019.
The four variants considered Variants of Concern include Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.
The remaining variants include Eta, Epsilon, Lota, Kappa and Lambda.