Rwanda launches tests on elderly, high-risk people in Kigali to ascertain COVID-19 status

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A man measures temperature for a secondary school student preparing to board a bus in Kigali, Rwanda, on Oct. 31, 2020. They were transferred to boarding schools by bus on Saturday, in preparation for the reopening of schools which have been closed since March due to COVID-19. (Photo by Cyril Ndegeya/Xinhua)

The Rwandan Biomedical Center (RBC) on Saturday launched free COVID-19 tests in the capital city Kigali on the elderly people aged 70 years and above and those with chronic diseases to ascertain the COVID-19 transmission among them.

The RBC in partnership with the Kigali municipality has set a target to test at least 125 people in each of the 161 cells in city, head of RBC Sabin Nsanzimana told Xinhua in a telephone interview, adding that contacts of COVID-19 positive cases and those with COVID-19 related symptoms will also be tested.

The government expects to test over 20,000 people in total from Saturday through Monday at different testing sites and people can get results within 15 minutes, spokesperson of Rwandan Ministry of Health Julien Niyingabira told Xinhua.

The screening is also aimed to uncover unreported cases and treat them in time, as some people sought medical attention late and unknowingly lived with the virus for long, said Niyingabira.

The move came as Kigali reimposed a lockdown from Tuesday due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the city.

The Ministry of Health on Friday reported 273 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the national tally to 12,443, with 8,184 recoveries and 165 deaths.

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