Bus passengers sanitize their hands in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda, March 14, 2020. Rwanda on Saturday registered its first case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the ministry of health said here. (Xinhua/Cyril Ndegeya)
Bus passengers sanitize their hands in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda, March 14, 2020. Rwanda on Saturday registered its first case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the ministry of health said here. (Xinhua/Cyril Ndegeya)

A Rwandan health official on Saturday said Kigali recently reporting more new COVID-19 cases than other places in Rwanda is due to increased movements, unfounded asymptomatic cases and complacency among people.

As of Friday, Rwanda reported a total of 12,443 cases, with 8,184 recoveries and 165 deaths. Nationwide, the central African nation has seen an “unprecedented rise in cases, deaths and transmission rates in the community” recently, while in Kigali a surge in new cases made the government reinstate a lockdown in the city from Tuesday at least until a review by the cabinet after 15 days.

Movements of people increased in Kigali, most especially in markets, car parks and other public places, and people became complacent towards observing COVID-19 prevention measures, Sabin Nsanzimana, director general of Rwanda Biomedical Center, told Xinhua in a telephone interview.

He also said asymptomatic cases who didn’t know they were infected with COVID-19 are living together with others in Kigali, which a reason causing “rapid transmission” within the city.

The official attributed the recent surge in the national tally to complacency after the government lifted a nationwide lockdown.

After the nationwide lockdown, “people’s movements increased and eventually they became complacent and carefree, and the COVID-19 prevention measures weren’t perhaps observed in the way they could have been,” he said.

The government expects the lockdown in Kigali and the suspension of public transport between the city and other places can curb the further spread of the virus in the country and eventually lead to reduced number of COVID-19 cases, he added.

The offical voiced optimism about the situation in the next several months, saying the measures put in place and vaccines that are expected to arrive soon will contain the pandemic in the landlocked country. Enditem

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Xinhua News Agency, Xinhuanet is an important central news service-oriented website, an important information organ of the central government, and an important platform for building up China's online international communication capacity. Established on November 7, 1997, as an online news provider of the Xinhua News Agency, it was officially named Xinhuanet on March 10, 2000 and began around-the-clock news release with leading online public opinion at home and setting a good image of China abroad as its main task.

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