Rwandan health official on Sunday said the ongoing mass testing in the capital city Kigali led to the detection of 1,997 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, which doubled the previous single-day record of 964 in June. The cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks as the East African nation battles different variants of the virus, including delta.
According to the Rwandan health ministry’s daily update released early Sunday, the new cases were reported in different parts of the country, the majority of 1,391 cases in Kigali. The coronavirus case numbers reported on Saturday brought the national tally to 54,549 cases with 38,186 recoveries and 638 deaths.
“The tests conducted were ten times the usual numbers we do. So if you test more you are likely to have more cases,” Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director-General of Rwanda Biomedical Center, told Xinhua.
He said the number of positive cases is expected to be high on Sunday as well, the second day of the mass testing.
The two-day mass coronavirus testing aims to test at least 15 percent of adult residents in each cell of Kigali or about 106,000 residents.
Nsanzimana said the mass testing will be conducted next week in other eight districts, equivalent to towns, under lockdown, where 5 percent of adults will be tested.
He added that the Rwandan government’s objective behind conducting mass testing is to better understand the epidemiological situation and help people who have never been tested to do so.
The Rwandan government is expecting that the ongoing lockdown will be very useful in bringing down new infection numbers. The lockdown bans unnecessary movements in Kigali and eight other towns from July 17 to July 26. The public is not allowed to leave home except for essential services during the lockdown.
Nsanzimana said the health authorities will repeat the mass testing exercise once the lockdown ends and compare the before and after numbers.