Africa, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Rwanda detects UK, South African coronavirus variants

No confirmation of new strains spreading in local community, says health minister

James Tasamba   | 22.03.2021
Rwanda detects UK, South African coronavirus variants

KIGALI, Rwanda

​​​​​​​Rwanda has detected the first cases of coronavirus variants first detected in the UK and South Africa, the health minister announced.

In a televised address, Daniel Ngamije on Sunday said the cases were detected among international visitors recently entering the East African country.

Two cases were confirmed with the UK variant, while 10 others tested positive for the South African strain, he said.

“To date there is no confirmation if the variants are spreading in local community... the travelers have been isolated to contain the spread."

The minister said health officials are still monitoring the situation, and will conduct contact tracing of the travelers found infected.

All viruses naturally mutate over time, and coronavirus is no exception. Some variants appear to be more contagious, and there are concerns over efficacy of the vaccines currently available.

Apart from the UK or Kent variant (B.1.1.7) and South Africa variant (B.1.351), there is the Brazil variant (P.1).

Rwanda has so far recorded 20,828 COVID-19 cases including 290 related deaths and 19,180 recoveries. As many as 334,538 people have been vaccinated against the disease.

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