President Paul Kagame Monday called for regional cooperation to tackle COVI-19 pandemic in the East African Community (EAC) bloc.
Last Friday, Rwanda recorded 22 single daily increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the highest since the country registered its first case on March 14, attributable to cases of cross-border truck drivers.
Uganda on Sunday also reported four new cases of COVID-19 after four Tanzanian truck drivers tested positive.
Speaking at a virtual press conference, Kagame called for sustained efforts to promote cooperation and harmonization of certain policies especially when it comes to cross border activities such as movement of cargo trucks.
He noted that Rwanda had taken full control of the situation and reined in the virus with more recoveries than active cases until all over a sudden cross border activities introduced other numbers rapidly which the country is now dealing with.
“There is no better way of dealing with that than through regional cooperation and coordination and understanding each other so that we manage this common problem,” Kagame told reporters.
Rwanda extended COVID-19 lockdown until April 30 in order to further contain the spread of the virus.
Unnecessary movements and visits outside home are not permitted except for essential services such as healthcare, food shopping or banking and personnel performing such services.
The President said easing the lockdown will be informed by information gathered from different places, including cross border activity and how it feeds into Rwanda’s COVID-19 fight.
“It will be deliberate step by step, looking at the data, how people are affected and how people get involved in dealing with the problem.”
The health ministry in a statement on Sunday evening reported eight new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 191 with 92 recoveries so far.
The EAC countries closed their border entry points to incoming and outgoing traffic in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19, but movement of cargo continues.
However, Burundi and Tanzania have been reluctant to implement lockdowns.
Rwanda refutes claims of presence of country’s army in DRC
Meanwhile, President Kagame refuted ongoing media reports of presence of Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) soldiers in Kivu area in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
There is no single soldier of RDF in DR Congo, Kagame said, speaking at the virtual press conference.