Rwanda sets up COVID-19 testing lab at major airport

The Rwandan Ministry of Health on Thursday inaugurated a COVID-19 testing laboratory at Kigali International Airport, the country’s major airport in capital city Kigali, to ease service delivery for travellers to Rwanda.

“Unlike previously when samples for incoming travellers were taken at designated hotels, all passengers will be tested at the airport and get their results within 24 hours,” Health Minister Daniel Ngamije told journalists at the launch event.

The laboratory has the capacity to test about 1,000 samples a day, according to the minister.

“With a growing number of travellers, a lot of time was wasted taking samples at hotels yet testing was done elsewhere at the national laboratory. This sometimes led to delays in releasing the results,” said Ngamije, adding that travellers will still wait for the results at their designated hotels.

All incoming travellers are tested at their own cost.

Earlier this month, Ngamije warned the COVID-19 pandemic has reached a “critical stage” in the country, with an ongoing spike in new cases and deaths.

Rwanda registered 72 new cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total caseload to 7,670, with 6,203 recoveries. Meanwhile, three more deaths were reported, raising the national death toll to 69, the ministry said late Thursday.