Burundi launches COVID-19 mass screening campaign

The Burundian government has launched a three-month nation-wide coronavirus screening campaign, local media reported late Monday.

The campaign has started in the capital Bujumbura, and will extend to other provinces next week, according to SOS Médias Burundi.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the response of the population because we had planned [to screen] 250 people per day but at 2 p.m. [1200 GMT] we noticed that we had already taken more than 419 samples, which shows that the population responded massively to the appeal launched by His Excellency the President of the Republic,” Health Minister Dr. Thaddee Ndikumana was quoted as saying.

Last week, newly elected President Evariste Ndayishimiye promised to combat corruption in public services, as well as beat the virus pandemic.

He called on the citizens to protect themselves and observe all preventive measures.

Without specifying the amount, Ndikumana said the screening operation is funded by the Burundian government and its partners.

With a population of 11 million, Burundi has confirmed 191 virus cases so far, including one death and 128 recoveries, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Late Pierre Nkurunziza had been criticized for the country’s poor management of the outbreak.

In May, his government expelled World Health Organization’s representatives from the East African country.

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