Burundi faces new surge of Covid-19

By Egide Lucky

Gervais Ndirakobuca exhorts administration and police to severely punish people who breach covid-19 barrier measures

The administration, the police and health staffs warn against the increasing number of covid-19 positive cases since the last weeks. The ministry of home affairs calls on the population to keep strict respect of barrier measures as it imposes sanctions over recalcitrant.

In a communiqué issued on the 15th of December, the Minister of Home Affairs and Public Security Gervais Ndirakobuca warned that positive cases for covid-19 have considerably increased.

“Since the last weeks, there has been an imminent release in strict compliance with barrier measures against covid-19. This has caused a sensitive increase of positive cases both in cities and the countryside,” said Minister Ndirakobuca.

He reminded that measures which people must abide by to curb the covid-19 pandemic include mandatory and regular handwashing.

Hence, it is compulsory to put handwashing kits in front of offices and in places where crowds of people are found such as markets, schools and churches.

“Handshakes and hugs are forbidden. Physical distancing in public places is mandatory and masks are required”, says the Minister of Home Affairs.

Those who breach the measures should be severely punished, said Mr. Ndirakobuca, as he warned those who do not self-quarantine after testing positive for covid-19.

“The administration must increase vigilance to make sure that people who exhibit symptoms and those who have been in contact with positive cases wear masks, have coronavirus test and isolate themselves.”

He called on the administration and the police to regularly verify if all barrier measures are respected and punish those who violate them.

As a reminder, night clubs, karaoke performances and crowded gatherings are still banned according to Minister Ndirakobuca.

Number of screening centers increased in Bujumbura city

A higher number of positive cases is recorded in Bujumbura city than in other provinces. Since Monday the 13th of December, three screening centers in the city were overcrowded by people who needed immediate covid-19 test.

At a screening center near Kamenge district hospital in the north of Bujumbura city, hundreds of people were in tents waiting to undergo the covid-19 test in the morning of the 14th of December.

“My neighbors are all positive for covid-19. We have not been serious enough to prevent contamination,” said one person explaining the reasons behind the new surge.

Déo, 47, had come with his wife and two children. He deplored that screening centers are few in Bujumbura city comparing to the number of people who need the coronavirus test.

He called on the ministry in charge of health to increase the number of centers so tests can be done more quickly.

The situation was the same at the screening center known as “Au Bon Accueil” in Mukaza commune of the Bujumbura city.

“I came yesterday but there were many people. I went back home untested and I was really feeling bad”, said a woman met at the center.

Others said they were afraid of contracting the virus at place considering the number of people and how small the center is.

The room in charge of positive cases was full of people waiting to receive drugs. Others were still outside.

“The situation is so bad that even hospitals are full of people suffering from covid-19 complications. My grandfather has been hospitalized since the last week,” testified a young lady after testing positive for coronavirus.

“Very few patients are hospitalized and none is on a ventilator. The situation is not really alarming,” said Sylvie Nzeyimana, Burundi Minister of Health, in a press conference held on the 16th of December.

According to her, treatment of positive cases for covid-19 is going well despite the increase in number.

She said that the committee in charge of covid-19 management decided to increase the number of screening centers to unclog the existing ones.

Hence, covid-19 screening centers in Bujumbura city have gone up to nine.

“The number of the ministry’s employees working at the centers will be increased so tests are done quickly,” she added

The Minister of Health reminded the population to keep respecting measure barriers so as to prevent covid-19 spread.

She exhorted people to do test whenever they have symptoms or have been in contact with people who tested positive for coronavirus.


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