KIGALI, 22 March 2021 – Health officials in Rwanda have recorded 12 cases of the new variants of COVID-19 first detected in South Africa and the United Kingdom (UK).
Ten cases of the South African variant (B.1.351) and two of the UK variant (B.1.1.7) were identified last week, according to Rwanda’s health minister, Daniel Ngamije, speaking during an interview with the state-owned broadcaster.
The variants were found in 400 samples screened “between October 2020 and February 2021,” Nganije told Rwandan radio-television corporation.
The variants were detected on travelers coming into the country at the Kigali International Airport.
The infected individuals were isolated until they tested negative, the minister said.
Rwanda is one of 17 African counties that have been added to a travel ban by the United Kingdom for fear travel from there could spread the South African variant to the UK.
The sixteen other countries are Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, DR Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, of course.
The ban is for all travelers coming from or transiting through any of the 17 African countries.
A total of 33 countries are considered red zones and travel from them has been banned by the UK.
Anyone admitted into the UK from these countries must quarantine for ten days in UK government-approved hotels.
Travelers retained in such hotels must pay no less than $100 per night for an estimated grand total of $2387 (2,000 euros) over the quarantine period.
Rwanda has been advancing rapidly in its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
As of Monday, the country’s health ministry said 97 percent of the more than 340,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines received have already been administered.
Rwanda has recorded nearly 21,000 cases of the new coronavirus with 290 deaths as of Monday.