KAMPALA — Ministry of Health Spokesperson Emmanuel Ainebyoona has tested positive for Covid-19, he tweeted in a statement Friday evening.
“I’m currently receiving treatment at Mulago Hospital after testing COVID-19 positive,” he said.
Ainebyoona is the latest official to test positive for the virus, adding to questions about how widespread the outbreak will become.
He added: I’m feeling better and the doctors are doing a great job. Please remember to follow the Ministry of Health COVID-19 preventive measures”.
Meanwhile, the roll-out of new, World Health Organization (WHO) approved antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus in Africa will significantly boost testing capacity and marks a game changer in the continent’s fight against COVID-19.
Many African countries have struggled to test in sufficient numbers to control the pandemic, with only 12 in the region reaching a key threshold of 10 tests per 10 000 people per week during the past month. They have also often fallen short when compared to other countries of a similar size in a different region. For example, Senegal has significantly boosted its testing capacity but is testing 14 times less than the Netherlands. Nigeria is testing 11 times less than Brazil.
“The widespread use of high-quality rapid testing in Africa can revolutionize the continent’s response to COVID-19,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “The new, antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests will help meet the huge testing needs in Africa.”
Most countries in the region conduct polymerase chain reaction or PCR tests, the gold standard, which require laboratories, reagents and experts, limiting COVID-19 testing mostly to large cities. People can wait from 48 hours to more than ten days for results as they are sent for laboratory verification.
The new rapid tests are easy to use, cheaper than PCR tests and provide the results in just 15–30 minutes, enabling countries to decentralize testing.