Lifespan Of COVID-19 Negative Tests Tripled For Travelers In Gabon

The validity of COVID-19 negative tests has been extended from five to 14 days for local travellers in Gabon, a Central African country.

According to the Comité de pilotage du plan de de veille et de riposte contre le coronavirus – Pilot Committee for the Fight Against the Coronavirus (COPIL), the reason for the prolongation is the typical delay in making the results available, which sometimes swallows the five-day validity period.

“The period of the validity of the RT-PCR negative test is henceforth extended to 14 days from the date of taking the sample. The responsible officers at the COVID-19 laboratories are obliged to mention the 14 days validity period of the results of the tests released,” the Coordinator of COPIL, Prof. Romain Tchoua said, adding that this extension only concerns local travellers.

“Though the PCR test apparatus is available in all the provinces, the availability and feasibility of screening in certain localities, as well as the delays in making results available can extend to several days, thus rendering obsolete the five days validity period of previous negative results”, he added.

Some travellers within the national community are, however, of the opinion that extending the validity period may not be the best option.

“Perhaps it would have been better if they shortened the duration between taking the samples and withdrawing the results rather than extending the validity period of the results,” a concerned citizen told HumAngle in the Gabonese capital, Libreville, yesterday.

“One big problem with the laboratories is that staff working there are not duty conscious enough and some take specimens and leave them lying around the laboratories without paying prompt attention to them thus increasing the length of time the results take to be made available.”

He urged COPIL to take responsibility by addressing the shortcomings in the testing rather than “merely passing the buck to the common man”.

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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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