Rwanda launches new COVID-19 PCR lab at Kigali International Airport

On 25 December 2020 at 10:05

The Government of Rwanda has officially launched a new COVID-19 lab at the Kigali International Airport. With a capacity to process up to 1000 samples per day; incoming and transit passengers will be tested at the airport and wait for results in designated hotels in less than 24 hours.

The new facility employs RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction), an advanced laboratory technique for testing for diseases by detecting the presence of their genetic material in the body.

Such testing methods are considered as the ‘gold standard’ for the detection of some viruses and is characterised by high sensitivity and specificity.

Rwanda is among few countries to set up such a COVID19 PCR lab within an international airport.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Ngamije has said that the development aligns with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Setting up a laboratory at the airport is meant to help us continue delivering better services to incoming passengers. We have observed that incoming passengers have increased nowadays yet quite a number of them are COVID-19 positive. Doing tests from hotels and taking them to national laboratory would take time. With the facility, we wanted to take tests here making it easier for us to follow up everyone’s results,” he said.

Dr Ngamije explained that the laboratory is equipped with technology helping to identify who have not yet got results and update them on reasons for the delay.

“We sometimes use ‘pooling system’ making it necessary to attend to every sample test. The result for such person might be delayed,” he noted.

Rwanda already had National Referral Laboratory used for different tests including COVID-19.