Rwanda uses lockdown to ramp up COVID-19 testing

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The Rwandan government has ramped up COVID-19 testing amid a 10-day lockdown, as the country seeks to map out the virus prevalence.

Health authorities increased the country’s mass testing capacity, breaking it down into phases.

According to The East African newspaper, the first mass testing phase was undertaken between July 17-18 and reached 107,106 people in Kigali.

The second mass testing kicked off on Friday, July 23, targeting 40 cells with the highest positivity rate in Kigali— over 5 percent. The exercise targets 15 percent of the adult population of targeted cells.

The Rwandan government earlier this month announced that movements in the capital city of Kigali and eight other towns were prohibited, due to a surge in COVID-19 infections.

The new restrictions also banned the public from leaving their homes except for essential services, banned the use of public transport except for the transportation of people who “carry out” essential services and also banned the operations of motorcycles and bicycles.

Outdoor sports and recreational activities were also prohibited, and schools and higher education institutions were closed.

By Saturday, the country had reported 62,328 COVID-19 infections with 718 deaths.

A mass vaccination exercise is currently underway in efforts to contain further spread of the virus. So far, some 243,182 people have been vaccinated.

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