Health officials in Burundi announced Tuesday the first two diagnosed cases there of the COVID-19 virus.
“Both are Burundian nationals who had travelled to Rwanda and Dubai respectively and are being hospitalised at Bumerec hospital in Bujumbura,” the Health Minister Thadee Ndikumana said at a news conference.
Dr Ndikumana said the two patients are Burundians aged 56 and 42 who had arrived from Rwanda and the United Arab Emirates via Rwanda.
As neighbouring countries of Rwanda, DR Congo and Tanzania reported cases of coronavirus, Burundi suspended all flights to and from Melchior Ndadaye International Airport and started screening returnees and visitors from countries affected by Covid-19.
The patients were under quarantine at an isolation hotel in Bujumbura, he said, urging the public to embrace hygiene and social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
In mid-March, Burundi started to quarantine all travelers for 14 days arriving from the EU and countries most affected by the coronavirus including China, Iran, the United States, Britain, and Australia.
He, however, did not announce the day they arrived in the country saying it might jeopardise contact tracing efforts.
“We cannot provide the dates as investigations are ongoing,” said Dr Ndikumana.