Frequently Asked Questions & Answers



COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Anyone experiencing symptoms or having had close contact with a confirmed case or contact with someone currently being evaluated for COVID-19, should call 114, the RBC toll-free number or send a WhatsApp message to +250788202080 for further guidance.
Anyone who withholds information relevant for contact tracing or knowingly fails to report COVID-19 symptoms jeopardises public safety and will be punished in accordance with applicable laws.
The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.
  • Air: 3hours
  • Plastic: 2-3 Days
  • Wood: 2-3 Days
  • Metallic: 2-3 Days
  • Glass: 2-3 Days
  • Paper/Carton: 24 Hours
  • Leather: 2-3 Days
The incubation period is the time between infection and the onset of clinical symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days. These estimates will be updated as more data become available.
According to our clinical management guidelines, a patient can be discharged from hospital after two consecutive negative results in a clinically recovered patient at least 24 hours apart. Based on the current studies available, there is a period of approximately two weeks between the onset of symptoms and clinical recovery of patients mild COVID-19 disease. We are aware that some patients are PCR positive after they clinically recover, but we need systematic collection of samples from recovered patients to better understand how long they shed live virus.
Keeping coronavirus patients anonymous is crucial to battling the pandemic. No names or addresses of individuals tested positive with COVID-19 should be shared with the public.
You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking the following precautions:
  • Stay home, avoid unnecessary movements and gatherings.
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
  • Maintain at least 1.5 meter distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call RBC call center and follow the directions.
The Ministry of Health advises Rwandans to wear face masks in public where social distancing is not possible. The Rwanda Foods and Drugs Authority has approved of companies to manufacture personal protective equipment in Rwanda. On 6 April, WHO issued guidance and criteria for countries to use in making that decision.
While large gatherings are banned in the country. Religious leaders should remember that they are important community role models for reinforcing these recommendations and showing how communities can still maintain connection by conducting faith activities remotely/virtually using technology to maintain community and continue worship.
Yes, if the provider follows good personal and food hygiene practices. After accepting food/grocery deliveries, hands should be washed with soap and water.
It should be safe provided it is possible to wear masks, maintain a safe physical distance of at least one meter from all other shoppers and staff, it is possible to wash/sanitize hands, and that Good Manufacturing Practices and Good Hygienic Practices (GMP/GHP) standards are maintained in the market.
The Ministry of Health recommends everyone in Rwanda to wear a face mask when in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Some people may be infected and still not show any COVID-19 symptoms. It is recommended to wear a face mask to avoid expelling droplets while coughing and sneezing when in public.
People should use cloth masks and leave medical face masks for healthcare workers only. Handwashing and social distancing still remain the most important prevention strategies for COVID-19.
Before putting on a face mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
Wear your face mask for a period not exceeding 6 hours. Cover your face with a face mask from the nose, mouth to the chin. Do not remove or lower your mask when speaking, coughing or sneezing
Remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Wash your mask and iron when dry. Have at least two masks so that one can be worn when the other is being washed and do not re-use single-use masks.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.
Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
A person with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms. Technical guidance for laboratory testing can be found here.
A person who experienced any one of the following exposures during the 2 days before and the 14 days after the onset of symptoms of a probable or confirmed case:
  • Face-to-face contact with a probable or confirmed case within 1 meter and for more than 15 minutes;
  • Direct physical contact with a probable or confirmed case;
  • Direct care for a patient with probable or confirmed COVID-19 disease without using proper personal protective equipment1;
  • Other situations as indicated by local risk assessments.
Note: for confirmed asymptomatic cases, the period of contact is measured as the 2 days before through the 14 days after the date on which the sample was taken which led to confirmation.
Taking time to share information openly and honestly about symptoms and contacts can save lives. For more information call 114.
Close to a thousand samples are tested for COVID-19 on daily basis. Tests are conducted at the National Reference Laboratory. Samples come from different hospitals and entry points across the country. The focus is put on people believed to be at high risk of being infected or a contact person.
Sample collection is a 30-second process using a painless oral swab. The equipment used include personal protective Equipment (PPE), a test tube, and a swab. Fluids are collected with a Swab through the throat. The swab is then kept in a tube which is name coded and sealed then sent for testing.
Once samples are tested, individuals receive a call of a staff RBC. If negative a copy of the results is sent via email or message as per the person's preference. A hard copy can also be brought to by an RBC staff. If positive, the person receives counselling from an RBC staff and is informed of the steps to follow. Once the person is located a team is sent to pick up him/her and drive them to Isolation where they start treating their symptoms.
To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Those infected with the virus receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with partners.
People with preexisting medical conditions like diabetics, hypertension and people with immunosuppressing diseases and conditions like HIV, pregnancy and elderness tend to develop severe symptoms.
The deadliness or mildness of the disease depends on 2 hypothetical factors: One is the status of the host, the second is the virus which may have mutated developing strains that cause severe disease while others cause mild ones. Most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough and shortness of breath. Based on data from China, 40% of cases are mild, 40% of cases are moderate (defined as radiology-confirmed pneumonia), 14% progress to severe and some 5% are critical, with more than 2% fatal. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems are the most at risk.
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
Based on evidence from laboratory, animal and clinical studies, the following treatment options were selected: Remdesivir; Lopinavir/Ritonavir; Lopinavir/Ritonavir with Interferon beta-1a; and Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine.
  • Remdesivir was previously tested as an Ebola treatment. It has generated promising results in animal studies for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which are also caused by coronaviruses, suggesting it may have some effect in patients with COVID-19.
  • Lopinavir/Ritonavir is a licensed treatment for HIV. Evidence for COVID-19, MERS and SARS is yet to show it can improve clinical outcomes or prevent infection. This trial aims to identify and confirm any benefit for COVID-19 patients. While there are indications from laboratory experiments that this combination may be effective against COVID-19, studies done so far in COVID-19 patients have been inconclusive.
  • Interferon beta-1a is used to treat multiple sclerosis.
  • Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are very closely related and used to treat malaria and rheumatology conditions respectively. In China and France, small studies provided some indications of possible benefit of chloroquine phosphate against pneumonia caused by COVID-19 but need confirmation through randomized trials.
Quarantine is the restriction of movements for suspected cases without symptoms while Isolation is the separation of suspected cases who have already exhibited at least one of COVID-19 signs.
People infected with COVID-19 can still infect others after they stop feeling sick, WHO has recommended that people infected with COVID-19 isolate themselves for two weeks after they stop feeling sick.