Rwanda: Covid-19 Situation Under Control Despite Spike in New Cases, Says Health Minister

The Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Ngamije has moved to assure Rwandans that the current situation of Covid-19 is under control despite the surge in positive cases fuelled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

He said this during a press briefing about the end of year state of the pandemic in the country on December 30.

On Wednesday, December 29, Rwanda reported 2,083 positive cases of Covid-19, the highest daily number of infections since the virus was first reported in the country.

To not lose in this fight, Dr Ngamije stated, we make sure that there are fewer or no fatality cases and that our healthcare facilities are not overwhelmed with critical cases.

“The fact that people are highly infected and asymptomatic, we consider this as a situation under control,” he added.

According to a survey done by the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), the Omicron variant of coronavirus is the most distinct and circulating variant.

All 26 samples of positive cases in a sequence carried out were of Omicron variant, RBC says.

The outbreak of the Omicron variant, came at a time when a significant number of Rwandans are vaccinated, effectively helping to keep the number of people in critical condition low, Dr Ngamije said.

He disclosed that of eligible people aged 12 years and above, more than 85 per cent have received the first dose and 71 per cent of the second dose.

“We have achieved a good coverage of target population,” he said.

Contrary to the previous third wave where lesser target population was vaccinated and a noticeable increase in hospitalisation, Ngamije pointed out that now there are only have five people in critical condition who are on low and high flow of oxygen combined.

He said that the most common symptoms of this variant are mild fever, headache, cough or flu, but rarely there is a loss of taste or smell, however, the majority of infected people are asymptomatic.

Making case for a booster shot

Ngamije said that conducted studies in Rwanda, as well as other countries, show that number of neutralizing antibodies created after being vaccinated gradually decreases within six months.

“We monitored some people that got inoculated in March this year and after 28 days received their second dose, we followed up on the trend of their antibodies within the first three and six months, for the majority of them, their antibodies were diminishing,” he said.