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Easing Lockdown Restrictions during COVID-19 Outbreak in Rwanda

Clarisse Musanabagnwa1,*, Laine Munir2, Jean Baptiste Mazarati1, Claude Mambo Muvunyi3, Sabin Nsanzimana1, Leon Mutesa4

1Medical Research Centre (MRC), Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), Kigali, Rwanda
2Center of excellence in biodiversity and natural resource management, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda
3Rwanda National COVID-19 Taskforce, Kigali, Rwanda
4Center for Human Genetics, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda


According to the WHO’s recommendations, Rwanda implemented a national response preparedness plan against COVID-19 beginning in March 2020 [1,2]. The main goals for the preparedness plan were prevention, early detection, and a quick response. This article explores not only the public health but also the economic impacts of the plan’s social distancing measures across the country. It explains that COVID-19 has not spread as rapidly across Rwanda as initially predicted, and consequently has not caused the total financial fallout feared by some officials, but Rwanda’s continued success in containing the virus is also a part and parcel of its management of the national economy.

Early efforts included expanding laboratory testing and diagnostic capacities, augmenting appropriate tools, refining procedures, and implementing new technologies. Additionally, the Ministry of Health increased training for National Reference Laboratory (NRL) staff in screenings, surveillance activities, and improved sample collection. Across Rwanda, there were amplified entry-point screenings across provinces, and quarantine points and treatment centers were readied [1]. 

The preparedness plan effectively raised public awareness before the country’s first confirmed case. Besides, report show an estimation of 95% of contacts are traced. As it has become clear that the source of transmission chain for positive cases is originated from cross-border truck drivers transporting goods from Tanzania and DRC into Rwanda, the government of Rwanda with the support from border officials created a system in which cross-border truck drivers exchange vehicles with non-infected domestic drivers at the border [3].
The Rwandan government continues to strengthen capacity for enabling mass-testing, contact tracing, and public health education [4]. Rwanda’s ability to control the spread of COVID-19 continues to impress especially with clinical outcomes surpassing those in other countries affected by COVID19 worldwide.


By: Dr. Clarisse Musanabaganwa

Category: uncategorized

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