Rwanda confirms the presence of 6 Covid-19 variants, including “unknown” strain

The presence in Rwanda of 6 Covid-19 variants is one of the reasons for the unprecedented epidemic outbreak that the East African country has been experiencing for weeks, Rwandan Minister of Health Daniel Ngamije said.

“We have confirmed the presence of 6 variants of Covid-19, including the Delta, Alpha, Beta, Epsilon, Eta variants as well as an unknown strain which is currently the subject of a study,” indicated the minister in an intervention on public television.

The official explained that the coronavirus tests carried out over the past ten days confirm that the capital Kigali remains the epicenter of the pandemic, concentrating more than half of the new cases of infection.

“The screening tests carried out also show that 56.6% of the new cases detected in the country are attributed to the Delta variant, which appeared for the first time in India,” Ngamije said, adding that this highly contagious strain has contributed to the explosion of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

The Rwandan government announced on Sunday the extension of lockdown, in force in nine cities, including the capital Kigali, until July 31 to curb the surge in Covid-19 cases.

The Rwandan authorities had previously decreed a ten-day reconfinement, from July 17 to 27, in order to deal with the third wave of Covid-19, which has been raging in the East African country for several weeks.

The curfew decreed from 6:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. in unconfined cities remains in force, where businesses must close at 5:00 p.m.

This is, for Rwanda, the third lockdown after those of March 2020 and January 2021. The East African country has been facing, for weeks, a wave of coronavirus more deadly than the previous ones.

According to the Ministry of Health, the national campaign to vaccinate 60% of the population by next year has so far reached only 3% of the country’s inhabitants.

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