RBC explains drop in daily Covid-19 tests

A health worker conducts a Covid-19 test in Kigali recently. / Photo: Dan Nsengiyumva.

When Rwanda confirmed her first Covid-19 case in mid-March, the country would conduct only 300 sample tests within 24 hours.

By the end of July, Rwanda’s average daily Covid-19 sample tests had sharply increased to an average 5,000, a number which had earlier been expected to double in August.


The increase was mostly boosted by the deployment of testing labs in different corners of the country.


However, the number decreased recently, most notably in the last eight days, the lowest being 1,687 tested on Monday this week.


Explaining the cause of the decrease, Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), said that it has to do with few contacts of Covid-19 confirmed cases.

“Normally, conducting many tests depend on new traced contacts of previously identified cases,” he told The New Times on Tuesday, September 15.

He added: “We usually conduct massive testing according to community risks assessed.”

The most recent high risk group to be tested in large numbers was a cluster of traders in both Nyarugenge and Nyabugogo markets, an exercise undertaken after detecting a number of Covid-19 cases in the area.

After weeks of closure, the two markets were re-opened and are now operating under strict Covid-19 preventive guidelines.

Nsanzimana also highlighted that the number of daily tests is about to increase again, as a result of new clusters being assessed.

“Our disease detection teams are currently assessing community risks, and we are planning massive testing next week in the assessed areas,” he said.

As reiterated by different health specialists, increasing the number of Covid-19 tests is essential because it ensures that there are no unnoticed havens for the pandemic in a given country and may also be useful for the government while making appropriate decisions after knowing the state of this virus in that particular location.

So far, Rwanda is recording moderate daily confirmed cases and more daily recoveries.

In total, the country has conducted 464,583 Covid-19 sample tests.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, a total of 4,602 Covid-19 cases have been reported, of whom 2,736 people recovered.


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