Rwanda to use HIV testing labs to scale up COVID-19 tests

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Rwanda will soon employ HIV testing labs countrywide to test COVID-19, an official said Wednesday.

“For more than a week we have been testing more than 1000 people in a day. Our wish is to test more numbers, we shall therefore soon employ equipment used for testing HIV countrywide to test for COVID-19,” Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the head of Rwanda Biomedical Center said on national Rwanda television.

The health ministry more than doubled its testing capacity since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country, but more people are seeking COVID-19 tests daily, he said.

The ministry started by testing people showing coronavirus symptoms, then started to test contact people but now the intention is mass testing as much as the testing capacity allows, Nsanzimana added.

On Tuesday the Ministry of Health reported zero new COVID-19 cases, and the total confirmed cases remained at 261. The ministry also reported 129 recoveries.

The government on Monday eased COVID-19 lockdown, reopening private and public businesses with essential staff; but a night curfew starts from 8pm to 5am.

Borders also remain closed except for cargo and returning Rwandans and legal citizens who will be subject to mandatory 14 days quarantine. Schools will remain closed until September 2020.

The measures will be reviewed after 15 days upon health assessment, according to the prime minister’s office.

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