Rwanda reports its first death from the new coronavirus

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BY REUTERS,31ST ,MAY 2020-The Ministry of Health in Rwanda has reported the country’s first death caused by the new coronavirus.

The patient was a 65-year-old driver who opted to return home from a neighboring country, where he resided, after falling severely ill, the ministry said in a statement.

He passed away from severe respiratory complications while receiving treatment at a specialized COVID-19 treatment facility.

So far, Rwanda has reported 359 cases of coronavirus; 250 have since recovered and been discharged from hospital.

According to The New Times, the active cases stand at 108.

The country is currently on lockdown, however, some businesses are being allowed to resume operations.

In addition, the local newspaper reported that motorcyclists will also be given a green light to transport passengers starting Monday June 1.

Cross-provincial movements could also be permitted after more than two months under restrictions.

Rwandan medical workers deploy robots to minimise coronavirus risk

Meanwhile, at the Kanyinya COVID-19 treatment facility a short distance from Rwanda’s capital Kigali, Akazuba, Ikizere and Ngabo report for duty, but these are no ordinary health care workers.

In a bid to minimise contact between patients infected with the coronavirus and doctors and nurses, the country has deployed the three robots to carry out simple tasks like taking temperatures and monitoring patients.

The sleek white robots, with big bright blue eyes and a rather human appearance, were donated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and are helping frontline workers tackle the coronavirus crisis in the East African nation which so far has 355 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease.

“The three robots that we have are part of the treating team,” said David Turatsinze, a doctor at the 75-bed facility, which housed 65 patients when the Reuters team visited.

By relaying messages to doctors and helping the team assess the effectiveness of their clinical decisions, the robots cut the number of bedside visits that doctors have to make.

Francine Umutesi, a bio-medical engineer who works as a health technology operations specialist at the ministry of health, said the robots were a first for Africa and had the potential to offer even more support to medical teams.

“It doesn’t remove the tasks the doctors are supposed to do, it’s just complementing their efforts,” she said.

Rwanda already uses drones to deliver blood and enforce restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. There are two more robots at the country’s other COVID-19 treatment centre, Nyamata, in south east Kigali.

Officials said the robots will be programmed to carry out additional tasks.

“In the future if they are programmed to take even blood pressure and the (blood) sugar, that definitely would be so helpful,” said Turatsinze.

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