KIGALI, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Rwandan health official on Sunday attributed the 1,997 COVID-19 cases reported on Saturday, which doubled the previous single-day record of 964 in June, to the ongoing mass testing in the capital city Kigali.
The new cases are spread in different parts of the country, with a majority of 1,391 cases in Kigali, according to the ministry's daily update released early Sunday. Saturday's figures 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," Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Center Sabin Nsanzimana told Xinhua in a telephone interview.
He also said high numbers of positive cases are expected on Sunday, the second day of the mass testing.
The two-day mass testing targets at least 15 percent of adult residents in each cell of Kigali, or about 106,000 residents, and is expected to be extended next week in other eight districts, equivalent to towns, under lockdown, where 5 percent of adults will be tested, Nsanzimana said, adding that the number could be adjusted depending on the size of the town.
The objective is to better understand the epidemiological situation and help people who have never been tested to do so, he said.
The government expects the lockdown, which bars unnecessary movements in Kigali and the eight towns from July 17 to July 26, to be useful in driving down new infections according to previous experience.
"At the end of the lockdown period, we will repeat the mass testing exercise and compare the numbers before and after. We think that there will be a significant change," said Nsanzimana. Enditem