Gabon Civil Society Activist Condemns Vip Covid-19 Test Costing Us $40

A renowned civil society activist in Gabon has condemned the introduction of a so-called, very important personality (VIP) COVID-19 test which cost 20,000 FCFA (about 40 dollars).

Marc Ona Essangui who described the VIP tests as “CoronaBizness”, said if the test were instituted by some private business outfits, one could understand “but coming from the pilot committee for the fight against the coronavirus (COPIL) which is an emanation from government, especially taking into account the big sums of money donated towards the right against the virus, I am forced to ask questions”.

HumAngle recalls that, over the weekend, the Comité de pilotage de la lutte contre le Coronavirus (COPIL) announced that putting into place a VIP Covid-19 test would cost 20,000 FCFA. 

It noted that it was specifically for “those who do not want to interrupt their sleep at 4 a.m. to go and line up in front of different testing centres created by the government to be served without hindrances”.

“So the government is already profiting from the COVID-19 tests? At this rate, with financial interests at the forefront, this governmental structure is not ready to reassure the public at a time when the tendency towards collective immunity has been surpassed”, Mr. Essangui declared.

“We were informed of the putting in place of a laboratory unique in Africa, with a capacity of 10,000 tests per day. 

“Today we are forced to run through the city of Libreville in order to find centres where the famous Covid-19 tests are conducted and for which one has to wait for at least ten days to receive the results, without forgetting the doubts as to their viability”, the international civil society activist added while condemning the problems ordinary citizens have to face before being tested and receiving their results.

In Gabon, the presentation of a negative COVID-19 test result not more than five days old is obligatory for one to travel from one province to the other and for one to be allowed to board a plane.

This obligation occasions long lines in front of testing centres for most Gabonese who want to travel.

Meanwhile, Gabon’s COVID-19 situation as at July 12, 2020, stood at 5,942 confirmed cases, 733 of which were infected within the last fourteen days, and 46 deaths.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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