No more covid PCR test for travelers to Rwanda, replaced with the rapid test

In the latest announcement by the government of Rwanda on covid 19 guidelines for travelers, effective 13th May 2022, people coming and departing through Kigali International airport shall be required to present negative results from a RAPID covid test done within 72 hours to the time of boarding their flight.

This is a change from the previous requirement of a PCR test. In most countries and in Rwanda the PCR test takes longer to return results. For instance, in Rwanda the results from a PCR test are supposed to come back within 24 hours, sometimes they could come back earlier, say in 8 hours, but other times they can delay taking more than 24 hours. This has been a huge inconvenience for many travelers who have already booked their flights and tours and have to experience hours of suspense waiting for results that could in the end hinder their travel plans. There are also very few facilities mandated to carry out PCR tests, for instance in Kigali City only the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) was the only center mandated to carry PCR tests for travelers.

On the other hand, the rapid test takes a matter of minutes. In Rwanda, you can check into a testing facility for a rapid test and leave within 30 minutes with your results. In other countries it can even take less. There are also many health centers in Kigali and across the country that have the authorization to carry out rapid tests making it very convenient.

This announcement is timely and a welcome move with the tourism peak season approaching, starting in June. Many travelers who were planning to visit Rwanda for the gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park, chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe and safari tour in Akagera National Park to see the big five can now feel more relief from the more stringent covid restrictions that made planning difficult and full of suspense.

Mandatory mask mandate dropped

The government has also dropped the mandatory mask wearing.

Here is the government circular:

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