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CORONA VIRUS

Kagame Reassures Rwandans, Commends G20 For Engaging Africa

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Finally government has taken a bold step to support the most vulnerable Rwandans who are struggling to put food on the table as a result of an imposed lockdown aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a televised addressing to the nation on Friday night, March 27, on the global coronavirus pandemic, President Paul Kagame said relevant institutions are working on a social protection plan to support the most vulnerable in our community.

Government will begin distributing food items such as maize flour, beans, cooking oil, rice, salt, and sugar. Rations will issued based on the number of people in a household.

Disturbing images have been circulating on social media showing people breaking into people’s homes and others being flogged after being caught stealing farm produce to feed themselves.

The President’s reassurance comes after a week-long of drastic pleas by helpless Rwandans who are on the verge of starvation due to lack of supplies and the inability to fend for themselves amidst a tight curfew.

“We need to speed this up,” Kagame said.

Meanwhile, the President called upon all Rwandans to play their role, in both action and attitude.

Rwanda is on a 2-week lockdown that began midnight March 21 following the Prime Minister’s  directive instructing everyone to stay at home after the situation escalated quickly from 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in less than a week. The number had since risen to 54 by press time.

All movements are strictly prohibited except for essential movements such as grocery shopping, seeking medical services, and government employees designated for providing necessary services.

President Kagame said, “The measures we have taken are working. What we do today, will determine how quickly we can defeat this pandemic, so we can continue with our normal lives.”

“I would like to thank our Ministry of Health and other government institutions for the commendable job and commitment they continue to demonstrate through the work of our National Task Force led by the Prime Minister,” he said.

The President, who is currently serving as Chairperson of the AUDA-NEPAD, a development agency of the African Union, also took time to appreciate French President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Merkel and other G20 leaders for joining with AU Chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa to give Africa a special place in the G20 Coronavirus response.

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CORONA VIRUS

Abolish Covid Certificate Travel Rule, Says African Airlines Association

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Covid-19 certificate may not be necessary for passengers intending to travel across the African continent and thus the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) wants states to abolish it.

AFRAA says the travel industry is reeling from the adverse impact of the re-introduction of travel restrictions and implementation of blanket travel bans since the onset of the Omicron variant.

The airline lobby also wants governments and stakeholders to harmonise the health protocols, reconsider the bans and adopt a risk-based approach in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

“States should not impose Covid-19 vaccination certificates as a mandatory travel entry and exit requirement until there is satisfactory access to vaccines globally, reasonable vaccination coverage is attained, and sufficient guidance on the use of the vaccine for travel is available based on recommendations of the WHO,” said AFRAA secretary general, Abdérahmane Berthé.

He said 2021 marked the dawn of recovery with positive trends in air transport activity being witnesses across the globe pointing out that as of October 2021, African airlines had reopened 81.3% of their international routes that had been closed due to the pandemic.

“African cargo capacity grew by 33% since 2019 and cargo load factors improved by 9% from pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

“The travel restrictions and blanket bans are a huge risk to the gains made in the recovery of the travel ecosystem. Furthermore, air transport connectivity and economic sustainability of airlines’ operations will be negatively impacted.”

AFRAA, he said, recognises that a risk-based approach and the safe reopening of borders are critical for the efficient restart of aviation but urged the governments to remove border restrictions and open their markets to restart the industry.

AFRAA recommends that States continue with pre-departure testing until vaccines become widespread, with States transitioning to the use of Rapid Antigen Testing as an alternative to PCR, some of which have been proven to have similar reliability to PCR, is significantly cheaper and takes within 30 minutes for results.

To address credibility of test/vaccination certificates, AFRAA wants Governments to continue to adopt digital Covid-19 test/vaccination certificates wherever possible as verifiable health credentials and as a trusted platform for traveler information.

The agency wants States to implement rapid roll-out of vaccines across the continent to facilitate the restart of economies and Air Transport.

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CORONA VIRUS

Confusion Surrounding Full Vaccination Explained

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Since the outbreak of Covid-19, many people are wondering how many jabs should one receive to be regarded as a fully vaccinated person due to the fact the vaccinations seem endless.

Nonetheless, it has emerged globally that for a person to be fully vaccinated he or she must get a booster vaccine.

According to the Ministry of Health recent updates, a booster shot is a must for those who received the first and second shot so as to boost their immunity.

As a result, the full protection of Covid-19 is now principle for Rwandans living abroad and all outgoing passengers according to the Rwanda Biomedical Centre.

“For a person to be fully vaccinated is a principle for Rwandans going out,” the Rwanda Biomedical Centre forewarned unvaccinated travelers.

Amidst these, there is a concern of mixing jabs which medical personnel assures has no side effects, which the Ministry of Health cleared airs that boosters are approved by Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Rwanda FDA and the World Health Organization, therefore that mixing vaccines offer greater protection.

The US Food and Drug authority in a press release on Monday, said that “the single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine provides continued protection against COVID-19 and the associated serious consequences that can occur including hospitalization and death.”

In addition, the agency determined that more than 6, 300 individuals 12 through 15 years of age who received a booster dose of the vaccine at least 5 months following completion of the primary two-dose vaccination series were safe.

Globally, a number of countries are advising their citizens to have booster vaccines to strengthen their immunity.

For instance, the government of Singapore has confirmed that beginning with 14 February 2022, any person who didn’t get booster Covid-19 will lose vaccination status.

The Singaporean Ministry of Health warned that individuals should take their booster vaccination from around five months after completing the primary vaccination after 9 months.

The Ministry wrote; “Upon receiving their booster, they will continue to be considered as fully vaccinated beyond 270 days.”

The European countries under the EU have also urged their citizens to get booster Covid-19 as a way of getting fully vaccinated as the only way of protection.

“We urge all EU citizens to get fully vaccinated and follow the recommendations on booster vaccination,” the EU Medicine Agency writes.

Meanwhile, the Israel Government is inoculating the fourth Covid-19 vaccine on health workers as a demonstration to see whether the second round of boosters can help to contain the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

However, some like the US, it’s too early for them to discuss potential booster dose of Coronavirus vaccine for most people

“I think it’s early to be talking about a fourth dose,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told reporters.

 

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CORONA VIRUS

Rwanda Resuces Time For Booster Vaccine Jabs To Three Months

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The Ministry of Health has announced that people who received the second dose in the last three months can now get the Covid-19 booster vaccine instead of waiting for six months.

The announcement has opened doors to all recipients who received all doses but were waiting six months to get the booster vaccine.

 “The waiting time for the Covid-19 booster dose has been reduced to three months from six months. Rwandans who meet these criteria are encouraged to get a booster shot at their nearest health Centre or vaccinate,” the announcement reads.

The Covid-19 booster vaccines increase the immunity against the new variant.

The covid-19 booster vaccine was introduced last month by the Ministry of Health to people who were given two doses of vaccines.   

Meanwhile, medical research has indicated that after six months, the immunity provided by the Covid-19 starts to shrink and it requires a booster vaccine for full immunity.

The Minister of State, in Charge of Primary Health Care, Tharcisse Mpunga, says that the booster Covid-19 will be given starting Thursday.   

“The Ministry of Health will start the program of giving booster vaccines in the city of Kigali beginning with the elderly from 50 years and above and 30 to 49-year-old with chronic diseases or those who have diseases that can reduce their immunity as well as the health workers.”

Mpunga said the immunization will take place in health centers, district hospitals and other vaccinations centers. “It will be done in stages, starting with the City of Kigali but other areas will follow soon,” Mpunga added.

Vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Sinopharm jabs are administered twice while Johnson & Johnson are administered once.

Experts have already shown that booster vaccines are expected to be stronger vaccines than earlier ones.

More than 5.9 million Rwandans have been vaccinated and 3.3 million fully vaccinated while 80% of Rwandans received the second dose according to officials. 

 

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