Rwandan authorities intend to introduce the “favipiravir” in the treatment of people with coronavirus. The announcement was made on Monday, January 18, 2021 by the Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Ngamije.
Facing the second wave of Covid-19, Rwanda wants to focus on vaccination. The authorities hope to vaccinate 20% of the population by the first quarter of 2021. The Rwandan Minister of Health explained in a talk show on national television that just like the “remdesivir”, another antiviral developed against Covid-19, the “favipiravir” is a selective RNA polymerase inhibitor involved in viral replication. The country’s drug regulator has already approved the “favipiravir” as a treatment for coronavirus-infected patients. The drug will be distributed in Rwanda by health workers.
Following a meeting of the Council of Ministers on Monday, 18 January 2021, the Rwandan government has ordered a second lockdown of the capital for Tuesday in order to stop the spread of the virus. “The outbreak of Covid-19 cases, specifically in the city of Kigali, required containment,” said Rwanda’s Prime Minister Edward Ngirente. “ This decision was made, he said, as a result of the “unprecedented” increase in cases, deaths and transmission rates in the community.
Travel between Kigali and other provinces is prohibited during lockdown as well as transit. Both public and private workers are called upon to telework “with the exception of those in essential services”. Places of worship, public and private schools, including the university, are also closed. However, Kigali International Airport remains open to air traffic. On the other hand, as stated in the Council of Ministers’ communiqué, every traveller must present a negative test certificate on arrival “taken 120 hours before the first boarding” and on departure they must present a negative test result.
The curfew between 6 pm and 4 am (local time), the closing of bars and places of worship remain valid for the rest of the country. The situation will be reassessed in 15 days.
For Kigali, this is the second lockdown after the one in March 2020, which was lifted in May. On Monday, the Ministry of Health of Rwanda said that the total of the country had increased to 11,259 confirmed cases including 146 deaths.