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Burundi: Three Dead, Coronavirus Suspected




Reports from Burundi claim that three people have died from a disease that showed all signs and symptoms similar to those displayed by patients of Covid-19 caused by Coronavirus.

On Monday the Health Ministry admitted it was treating a couple at Prince Régent Charles Hospital after they exhibited signs similar to those of Covid-19 patients.

Government said it had a very suspicious case at the hospital and had deployed a multidisciplinary team made up of doctors, laboratory technicians and hygienists to the site for a thorough investigation.

“Indeed, it is a 35 year old man of Burundian nationality who lives in Buterere, Nyarumanga site at 6th Avenue. He had travelled to Tanzania in Dar es Salaam on March 04, 2020 and returned to Burundi on March 8, 2020,” reads part of a communiqué released on Monday by the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS.

Tanzania on March 16 confirmed her first case of COVID-19 at the government-run Mt. Meru Hospital in the Centre of Arusha the tourism capital.

The Ministry further revealed that on March 20, 2020, his 24-year-old wife developed a fever with dry cough and asthenia, and immediately the couple consulted Prince Regent Charles Hospital located in Buyenzi.

Government said both patients did not test positive to the Covid-19. But Itara Burundi reports that three persons have succumbed to the deadly coronavirus.

“Three people with symptoms of Covid-19 died without being diagnosed with the pandemic,” reports Itara Burundi an online news web.

“Families of the deceased would be intimidated by the health authorities and also would be punished if they revealed this kind of information. The last one died on March 25, 2020,” the website said on Wednesday.

The death of these patients could have sparked panic in government and prompted President Pierre Nkurunziza to summon his Ministers for an extraordinary cabinet meeting at Ntare Rushatsi House.

Cabinet meeting was presided over by President Nkurunziza and the agenda was “Reorganization and Operation of the National Platform for Risk Prevention and Disaster Management.”

Burundi is said to lack testing kits and support equipment and drugs in handling Coronavirus infected patients.

Doctors decry lack of face-masks and risk contamination.

Burundi has been isolated from the world since 2015 after President Nkurunziza was overthrown in a bloody military coup while he was away in neighbouring Tanzania.

He returned and managed to neutralise the coup and since the country has descended onto its knees resulting in several deaths.

Hundrends of thousands fled the country escaping targeted ethnic killings conducted by government sponsored Imbonerakure militia.

A big part of Burundians are opposed to attempts by Nkurunziza to seek a third term.

President Nkurunziza Chairs Cabinet Meeting With No Social Distancing


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Health Workers To Be First To Get Vaccinated As Omicron Spreads



As the Omicron wave of COVID-19 hit the world, health medical staff and frontline workers will be the first to get vaccinated before other target groups in the phase.

According to the Ministry of Health announcement, COVID-19 vaccine boosters will begin with the front line workers and those in elderly ages non-communicable diseases and health conditions.

Regardless of frontline workers and health staffs, other main target groups are the elderly people in the 50’s and above as well as those in the 39-40 but with non-communicable diseases or other health conditions as the guideline mentions.

Health practitioners have welcomed the third vaccination jab saying the move is timely because they know well they are risk factors to transmit the pandemic.

“We are the first risk factors who can spread COVID-19 easily therefore, we have to vaccinate before others due to contacts we make with patients,” said Vicent Mugambira, a health practitioner.

According to the Ministry of Health, the third dose will focus on those who received the first and second phases of the vaccine.

“COVID-19 vaccine booster dose is an additional dose that is given to eligible groups at least 6 months (180) days after being fully vaccinated. It can be considered as the third dose for those who received a single dose type of vaccine,” the Ministry’s announcement reads.

Despite the third wave of COVID-19, there are concerns and uncertainty on the times a person should vaccinate.

“I would like to know how comes for the person to be considered as fully vaccinated while there is a remaining dose,” a tweep responded to the Ministry’s announcement.

Since last week, the vaccination program of students in the range age of 12-17 is going on countrywide but parents have to first sign consent forms on their behalf.

Rwanda target to vaccinate 30 percent of its population by the end of December.


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UN Agency Says Travel Bans over Omicron a ‘Mistake



Many countries across the globe have rushed to impose travel ban on arrivals to countries in the southern africa region following the emergence of a more deadly covid-19 strain known as omnicron in South Africa.


Passengers from most countries in South African Development Community bloc are banned from entering various countries across the globe.


Like many other countries responding to the quick spread of Omnicron, Rwanda has banned passengers arriving from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Malawi.


The government of Rwanda said on Monday any passengers from the countries listed shall have to be quarantined for 7 days at their own cost.


Meanwhile, the head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa said that travel bans to try and stop the omicron strain from spreading are a “mistake” and pose a greater risk to African economies than the threat of the virus itself.

The restrictions could push more people in the continent into poverty, said Vera Songwe, Uneca’s executive director. The agency was already estimating that 70 million jobs would be lost because of the pandemic, she said. 

Rwanda Issues New Conditions For Travelers From Southern Africa

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Rwanda Issues New Conditions For Travelers From Southern Africa



Passengers arriving in Rwanda from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Malawi shall have to be quarantined for 7 days at their own cost, the government of Rwanda said on Monday.

A new coronavirus strain named Omicron potentially more contagious than previous variants and is fast spreading across the world and has forced governments to institute enhanced guidelines to quickly prevent the variants further spread.

Passengers arriving in Rwanda shall have to respect the new measures announced by the government on Sunday. It said that passengers arriving from the countries mentioned above are required to quarantine for seven days at their own cost at designated hotels upon arrival in Rwanda.

“The measure also applies to passengers who have visited any of these countries within seven days of arrival in Rwanda.”

Meanwhile, all other arriving passengers are required to quarantine for one day at their own cost in designated hotels. a covid-19 PCR test will be conducted on arrival also paid for by the passenger and an additional PCR test covered by the government of Rwanda will be administered at a designated testing site on day 7 after arrival in Rwanda.

RwandaAir flight to the South African countries are also suspended until further notice.

An extra-ordinary cabinet meeting held yesterday learned that despite the fact that Omicron variant is not yet detected in Rwanda, residents are required to be vigilant by enforcing preventive measures.  

Prior the announcement, Botswana’s Presidential COVID-19 Task Force also forewarned the public about the new variant cases in the country.

“The four cases were detected among travelers who tested SARS-COV-2 positive on routine pre-travel testing. The variant tests were carried out as part of the routine genomic surveillance of SARS-COV-2 as prescribed in our COVID-19 response plan.” the statement signed by Dr. K Masupu, Coordinator, Presidential COVID-19 Task Force reads.

UK has also imposed a travel ban on South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini.

Researchers around the world are still conducting multiple studies to better understand many aspects about Omicron.

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