Cape Town — "I tested positive and literally the fucking government showed up at my place, and came and dragged me away from everybody I was with, and I don't speak the language, and they locked me in this fucking room. And I can't leave."
These were the words of Charly Jordan, an American social media influencer after she tested positive for Covid-19 in Rwanda.
According to the series of videos she posted to her social media accounts, Jordan traveled to "Rwanda, Africa to do charity work with gorillas".
Well, it was the "Rwanda, Africa" for me. I mean, would you say "China, Asia" or the United States of America, North America". Very weird, but okay.
Jordan seemed surprised that the Rwandan government was following WHO recommendations on prevention strategies for Covid-19 - which states that If you test positive on arrival in their country, you may be required to isolate.
Throughout the world, the ignorance and carelessness towards curtailing Covid-19 is astonishing, but fortunately, Rwanda appears to be controlling the spread better than in the U.S. and Europe so far.
Rates of Covid-19 remain high in the United States, and Rwanda is one of only 30 countries that is currently "open with restrictions to U.S. citizens".
On their website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends American travelers avoid all non-essential international travel to Rwanda because "Covid-19 risk in Rwanda is high".
It is amazing for someone from the literal epicenter of the global Covid-19 pandemic to say that about Rwanda, which has pretty effectively handled the worldwide health crisis so far, thanks to responsive lockdown measures, mass testing, and comprehensive contact tracing.
However, the United States is exceptional, in a very bad way. From having the highest rate of new cases to having a president who believes infections are rising because they are doing more testing. Most obviously, not wearing a face mask and endangering other people, has become a political battle point in the U.S.
President Donald Trump has suggested that some people wear masks only to signal disapproval of him, and many Americans have decided that requiring masks in indoor spaces is an assault on their freedom. Trump hasn't just failed to rise to the policy challenges posed by Covid-19. but has, with his words and actions - notably his refusal to wear a mask - encouraged and empowered America's anti-rational streak.
Anyway, four days of quarantine and two negative Covid-19 tests later, Jordan was allowed to leave her Kigali hotel room after authorities determined that her first test had been a false positive. Of course, false results are never a good thing, but that's not a train smash as in any diagnostic test, there is the potential for false negatives or false positives. With Covid-19, they don't happen often.
Rwandan Zuba Mutesi was having none of it and responded to Jordan's several false claims about Rwanda. Zuba says Jordan misrepresented Rwanda, adding English is spoken, and Covid-19 test results are available in 24 hours.
Then in an update, Jordan apologized for traveling during the pandemic. "I'm completely in the wrong for doing that, and I have learned my less one hundred percent," she said.
As of September 8, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 has reached 4,409. Reported deaths in Rwanda have reached 19, and 2,271 recoveries.
Anyone of us could be carrying the novel coronavirus. By traveling up and down, we might unwittingly be infecting people who, a few short weeks from now, will find themselves in a hospital bed, gasping for air.
So kudos Rwanda, it's better safe than sorry.