Does It Take 5 Times Longer to Get COVID-19 Test Results in Rwanda Than in the US?

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A video of popular TikToker Charly Jordan claiming that COVID-19 tests take 5 times longer in Rwanda than in the United States, posted on the popular video-sharing social networking service (it has since been deleted), surfaced on Twitter on September 6 and immediately went viral.

The video led to a lot of backlash on social media forcing Charly to post another video apologising for her reaction.

Charly had travelled to Rwanda to work with a gorilla conservation group. In the video (see below), she criticises the Rwandan authorities for separating her with her friends while also claiming that there was a language barrier since no one could speak English.

Background

COVID-19 continues to disrupt the lives of many worldwide with cases continually rising amid different reactions from different countries.

While some governments have taken a proactive approach by enforcing measures such as curfews, lockdowns and travel bans, some have been more relaxed and others such as the US and Brazil have challenged recommendations by scientists and the WHO.

With COVID-19 tests required for people travelling to various countries, governments have been balancing between enforcing strict measures and promoting travel with many countries relying on tourism as a major economic activity.

Rwanda has been lauded as one of the African countries with the best responses to COVID-19, using experiences from the Ebola outbreak to curb the viral disease.

Measures taken by the tiny East African nation include the enforcement of a 9 pm curfew with those violating the curfew being fined or detained in stadiums such as Amahoro stadium as punishment. A joint task force consisting of members from a broad range of professions was also established with structures working in all of the country’s 30 districts under the leadership of mayors.

Verification

According to the Embassy of the United States in Rwanda’s website, all visitors to Rwanda are required to be quarantined on arrival awaiting their COVID-19 test results in 24 hours.

Reacting to Jordan’s video, Rwandans such as popular writer Zuba Mutesi, who said she had been tested multiple times and the results came back in 24 hours, took to social media to call her out.

The New Times, a national English language newspaper, also corroborates the 24-hour testing timeline quoted by Rwandans reacting to Jordan’s video online.

“Travelers are required to wait 24 hours for the results of their COVID-19 test in a designated transit hotel; and while in the waiting period, they should observe all prevention measures announced by the Ministry of Health. The Government of Rwanda negotiated special rates at designated transit hotels for the 24 hour waiting period,” the paper notes in an August 15 article.

On the other hand, there have been complaints in the US with people having to wait for between 2 and 17 days to get their tests back. According to Fortune, many Americans have had to go without jobs for weeks as they wait for test results which are mandatory in most workplaces. A surge in COVID-19 cases in the US has caused a backlog of tests with some waiting for up to 17 days to get their results.

Verdict

The claim that it takes 5 times longer to get Covid-19 test results in Rwanda than in the USA is therefore FALSE.

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Moffin Njoroge

Moffin is passionate about data and strives to find patterns, stories and leads by analyzing and interpreting datasets.