The President of Rwanda Paul Kagame has addressed the nation on COVID-19 Pandemic which is claiming millions of lives across the globe.
The March, 27, 2020 Presidential briefing confirmed what had been broadcast before and named Daniel Ngamije as the new minister of Health, replacing Diane Gashumba who was sacked two weeks ago over “habitual gross errors and repeated leadership failures.”
Dr Ngamije is a relatively new face in Rwandan politics having previously worked for the World Health Organisation as Rwanda’s programme director for Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases.
He will now lead the ministry at a time when the world is facing the deadly Covid-19 coronavirus, and also ensure that Rwanda remains Ebola-free.
He will also be expected to reform the ministry and its affiliates such as the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, often accused of squandering public resources.
Mr. Kagame also moved Solina Nyirahabimana from the position of minister of gender and family promotion to minister of state for constitutional and legal affairs, and replaced her with Jeannette Bayisenge.
Below is President Kagame’s full statement.
PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME
Message on the Coronavirus Pandemic 27 March 2020
Banyarwanda, Baturarwanda, Good evening to you all.
I am glad to have this opportunity to address you, as we confront the coronavirus pandemic.
The world is mobilizing to stop this disease, and since the first case was detected in Rwanda almost two weeks ago, everyone has played their part and made a contribution.
I want to thank all of you for your understanding, cooperation and the sacrifices you are making.
In particular, I want to thank those in the health sector, for the dedication they continue to demonstrate. They are working day and night, to prevent new infections, to treat those affected, and keep our country safe.
Today, we have 54 confirmed cases of coronavirus in our country
This number will rise as tracing continues, in order to detect, test and treat those who have been in contact with confirmed cases.
It is the best way to assist those who may have been infected, and prevent them from infecting their families, friends. and others in our community.
We made the difficult decision to stop commercial passenger flights, and restrict movement over land borders. This has helped to ensure that no new cases are imported into Rwanda. We suspended internal transport to prevent the virus from spreading around the country.
However, coronavirus is highly contagious, and there is not yet an adequate understanding of it.
It is our responsibility to ensure that the virus does not spread.
This is why I want to call upon everyone to continue following the directives of the government, to remain steadfast no matter the difficulty in order to beat this virus once and for all, and ensure we prevent the loss of many lives. The guidelines include the following:
- Stay at home
- Keep a physical distance between yourself and others, both when you go out and when you are at home
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
- Contact the authorities if you experience any symptoms of the virus We know that this is not an easy period for most Rwandans, whose livelihoods have been interrupted across the country. But we ask you to be patient.
Although we are making good progress, we cannot afford to relax yet.
The Government will continue to do everything possible, to support Rwandans through this challenging time.
Measures have been taken, and more will be taken, to build the resilience of our private sector throughout this difficult period.
Relevant institutions are working on a social protection plan, to support the most vulnerable in our community. We need to speed this up.
We are also working in collaboration with our partners in the region and internationally, to manage this pandemic.
I especially want to express our appreciation to all who have offered their support. I thank the World Health Organization, and in particular Dr. Tedros and Jack Ma and his foundation.
I also thank all who have offered their support through the advice they have given us and the equipment they have donated.
I would like to thank our Ministry of Health and other government institutions for the commendable job and commitment they continue to demonstrate through the work of our National Task Force led by the Prime Minister.
As Rwandans, we have overcome many extraordinary challenges together.
Our resilience and solidarity is needed now more than ever, to prevail in this struggle against coronavirus. And we have to win this fight.
I take this opportunity to once again ask each one of you to play their role, in both action and attitude.
The measures we have taken are working.
What we do today, will determine how quickly we can defeat this pandemic, so that we can continue with our normal lives.
May the peace of God be with you all in these difficult times.