Tue. Mar 31st, 2020

A LOCKDOWN IS INEVITABLE TO BLUNT THE SPREAD OF DEADLY COVID-19 PANDEMIC

By George Kalisa

COVID-19 pandemic which is now charging up started in the capital of Hubei Province, Wuhan in China where 81,132 cases, 3,279 deaths and 72,703 recoveries had been recorded as of March23. Some 50,418 were Active cases, 3, 204 of them were described critical.

The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 195 countries and territories around the world and 1 international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan

But, Italy topped the list of deaths in Europe and coming just behind China with the United States trailing in the third position but at a terrific speed. Other countries where COVOD-19 pandemic is hitting hardest include: German, Spain, Iran, the United States, France, S. Korea, Switzerland, Australia, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Canada and Brazil.

Others are Turkey, Malaysia, Denmark, Israel, Czechia, Ecuador, Japan, Ireland, Luxembourg Thailand, Chile, Pakistan, Poland, India, Qatar, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan et cetera. There is no single Continent that has been spared by the pandemic with African Continent being the latest prey.    

Italy had recorded 63,927 cases of Coronavirus 6, 077 of which are deaths while 7,432 were recoveries. Some 50,418 active cases 3,204 of them were in critical condition.

The US had registered a total of 46,145 cases of which 2,411 were new cases and deaths had climbed to 582 plus 29 new deaths.

The COVID-19 that has left medics and leaders across the world restless respects no social classes, race, tribe, religion and region, gender and age. But, generally the old people are at more risky due to diminishing body immunity, health expert say.

The poor and the rich, the leaders and the ordinary people are all at high risk. Even men of God, the clerics have been prey to COVID-19.

The Kentucky senator and an eye Surgeon Rand Paul tested positive for Covid-19 and sent into a quarantine on March21, becoming the first case of the virus in the Senate and raising fears about its further transmission among Republicans at the Capitol, The Guardian reported.

According media reports and family sources, Congolese music star Aurlus Mabele, 67, succumbed to health complications linked to a stroke and coronavirus infection in a hospital in Paris, France on March19.  

“My dad died of coronavirus this morning [Thursday night] … Thank you for honoring his memory. He is a great legend of the Soukouss that the Congolese people are losing today. I am inconsolable and collapsed. My dad whom I love so much … Aurlus Mabele,” said Liza through her Twitter account.

Spain is another European country where the Coronavirus is charging up and has recorded 35,136 cases 2,311 dead and 3,355 recoveries. The country is now battling with 29,470 active cases 2,355 categorised as serious.

German and Iran also have high numbers of infections with 29,056; 23,049 cases respectively while deaths cases had reached 123 (German) and 1,812 (Iran). Iran’s recovery figure is amazing at 8,376 while German had recorded 453 recoveries.

All European countries had recorded at least a case of Coronavirus by March23.

Globally, 16,314 deaths accounting for 14 per cent of 372, 756 cases, and 101,383 recoveries had been recorded. There were 255,059 active cases of them 242, 853 in mild condition whereas 12,206 in critical condition and apart from the 16,314 deaths (14%), 101, 383 cases had been discharged bringing the total cases closed to 117, 697.  

The rate of spread is an active centre that has prompted panic among world leaders and scientists who have not discovered any vaccines or medicine for COVID-19 yet.  

“The #COVID19 pandemic is accelerating. It took 67 days from the 1st reported case to reach the first 100K cases, 11 days for the second 100K cases & just 4 days for the third 100K cases. These numbers matter, these are people, whose lives & families have been turned upside down,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organisation Director-General on March24 through a tweet.

COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 16,000 people globally (PHOTO/Net)

In Rwanda, the government moved fast to issue preventive measures and the 19 cases of COVID-19 registered by March22 left most Rwandans frightened to the marrow for most of these Coronavirus cases occurred within a space of one week.

Notwithstanding the countrywide phobia was spurred by the fact that there is yet no vaccine for the diseases and a great deal of disinformation fuelled it.

Rwanda by press time had recorded 36 confirmed cases of Coronavirus up from 17 as of March20. Rwandan authorities said that 16 cases were imported from abroad, just before the suspension of all arriving and departing commercial passenger flights.

Clients washing their hands at Nyirangarama (PHOTO/The Light Magazine)

“Seventeen (17) new cases of #COVID19 identified yesterday [March23] in #Rwanda, including sixteen (16) imported from abroad. Our country has now thirty six (36) confirmed cases of #Coronavirus. Please #StayHome and follow instructions by @RwandaHealth” tweeted Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe, the Minister for State at Foreign Affairs and in charge of the East African Community.

Subsequently, Rwanda has closed her borders save for the returning Rwandan citizens and restricted citizens’ movements. Travels between cities as well as districts are not allowed under the latest directives from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Rwanda’s mitigation measures restrict bars, prayer places and unnecessary movements of people. No passenger vehicles are allowed into or out of Kigali. All the 36 cases have been found in the City of Kigali currently under tight lockdown.

“In order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, the Ministry of Local Government in coordination with other concerned institutions announces the following:

“Bar operational hours: effective immediately, bars in Kigali and other cities will close at 21h00, and those in rural areas at 19hoo. Prayer activities; it is not permitted to move worship and prayer activities to unauthorized places of any kind, such as prayer rooms , private homes, or caves,” the statement reads in parts.

No sooner had this directive been issued than the government suspended the operations of commercial activities including bars. But, essential services like medical care, food, electricity and water are still available and accessible.   

“Observing the global trend of the COVID-19 pandemic, and considering the experiences of other countries, there is a clear need to ensure that COVID-19 does not spread further in Rwanda. Accordingly, the following measures will be in force beginning March21, 2020 (…) for an initial period of two weeks,” reads the statement from the Office of the Prime Minister.

“Borders are closed, except for goods and cargo, as well as returning Rwandan citizens and legal residents, who will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated locations,” added the statement. The East African Nation has also suspended tourism and research activities.

The authorities in Kigali say this will go a long way to contain the COVID-19 pandemic as well as checking it from spreading to the rural areas.   

Aside from the measures on traffic and commercial activities the Government of Rwanda and health actors have responded to WHO’s call of the to sensitize the population on the mainly five aspects that can help to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The encourage citizens to wash their hands, cough/sneeze into their elbows and stay home if they feel sick.

They advise them not to touch their faces as well as staying more than 3ft (1m) away from others.  

Meanwhile, World leaders have extended gratitude to celebrated philanthropists including Jack Ma, the Founder of Alibaba Group. Investor Jack Ma this March donated a consignment of health kits such as masks and test kits to many European countries, the US and to African countries including Rwanda – currently battling the COVID-19 pandemic with rare vigilance.

“Thank you @JackMa and @foundation_ma for your generous donation of test kits delivered in Kigali today. This is a huge shot in the arm and a much needed contribution in our work to stop the spread of #Coronavirus. I know the people of Rwanda join me in gratitude,” said H.E President Paul Kagame.

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