Burundi imposes mandatory covid-19 testing as schools set re-open

Burundi’s Internal Affairs minister Gervais Ndirakobuca has ordered provincial governors to suspend all social events and ceremonies during weekdays. PHOTO|FILE.

As Students country wide are set to resume studies after a long holiday of almost three months for the reopening of the first term this September, Burundi ministry of health imposed obligatory covid-19 screening for students before reporting to their respective schools.

“The committee to combat the spread and contamination of COVID-19 discussed the planning of urgent activities, in particular the preparation of the screening campaign for COVID19 for all students on boarding school,” a statement reads from the Burundi Ministry of Health.

“The tests are mandatory to students in secondary school and boarding schools, the rest may go for the test voluntarily,” Jean Bosco Girukwishaka the spokesman of minister for health told Burundi Times.

The decision comes as there have been a surge in the covid-19 infections in Burundi for the last two months, several gigs and events were suspended due to the increased infections especially in Bujumbura.

According to the covid-19 report dated August 10, 2021 shows that on 9th August 330 cases of covid-19 were reported in the country the highest number of infections the country has ever had since the pandemic was announced last year.

Between July 13 and August 9th 73,606 people tested for covid-19 country wide, at least 3,452 people tested positive for the virus. According to the report Burundi total number of covid-19 cases stood at 9,175.

7,857 are locally transmitted cases while 1328 (14%) are imported cases, Artists and other event managers were left frustrated when their gigs were cancelled.

The government imposed strict measures early this month in efforts to control the spread of the pandemic which includes wearing masks, washing hands before entering any public or private building.

Fine that ranges from 50,000bif (approx.:$25) for any person found not wearing a mask in a public transport, night clubs and gigs were suspended country wide, however bars, churches, mosques, weddings and other social events are not prohibited.

On July 6, 2020 a mass testing campaign was launched in Burundi for citizens and non-nationals to voluntarily test for covid-19 countrywide, since then hundreds of thousands of Burundians have been tested to date.

The move came after the incumbent president Evariste Ndayishimiye took over the office as authorities were criticized for poor management of the pandemic that led to expulsion of some World Health Organisation representatives in the country and were declared persona no grata on Burundi soil in mid-May.

Burundi has never taken drastic covid-19 measures of total lockdown or suspension of schools and businesses countrywide, schools remained open since last year and due to the surge of the covid-19 cases the authorities have imposed mandatory screening for secondary school students and boarding schools.

 As of 18th August 2021, covid-19 active cases stood at 402, while 106 people have recovered in the last one month.


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