ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has agreed to purchase 1.5 million coronavirus testing kits that will be manufactured at the recently built China’s BGI Group’s factory here, A Chinese state media reported late on Tuesday.
The BGI Group installed Ethiopia’s first coronavirus test production facility on September 13, 2020.
The factory is designed to be able to make 6-8 million tests in a year and can expand the annual capacity to up to 10 million in accordance with local demand.
BGI, which makes genome sequencing and medical devices, is hoping to use its footprint in Ethiopia in expanding its supplies to other African countries, Xinhua quoted a BGI official as saying in a separate report on Wednesday.
BGI Group’s unit BGI Genomics had said it supplied over 35 million coronavirus testing kits overseas and built 58 labs in 18 countries as of June 30.
On Tuesday, Ethiopia has reported over 70, 000 infections and 1,127 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began in March.
The Ethiopia factory will later be converted to make test kits for HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
Featured Image: The photo taken on Sept. 22, 2020 shows facilities at the BGI Ethiopia COVID-19 test kit factory in the Bole Lemi industrial park on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. The factory is expected to produce the newly ordered coronavirus testing kits. (Photo Xinhua/Wang Shoubao)