Vivine Uwizeye, also known as “Miss Vivy”, is the only coronavirus patient to have been publicly identified in Rwanda.
It happened when a photo of the beauty queen on a hospital bed in critical condition went viral on social media last month.
The model and mother-of-two, who was voted Miss Rwanda Plus-Size in a 2011 pageant, says she still holds the crown because no contests have been held since.
Speaking to the BBC, Ms Uwizeye is open about her four-week stint in a treatment centre for coronavirus.
“After days of symptoms I started struggling to breathe, on 16 April I was taken to a hospital emergency ward, the next day I was hit with the bad news.”
Two days after her diagnosis she was taken to a specialist Covid-19 ward in the outskirts of the capital, Kigali.
“I was the only one in critical condition at the centre, every day doctors did their best treating me,” she says, adding that staff also offered mental health support because “every patient was scared”.
She also had to contend with hurtful and false rumours spreading online that she had died of the virus. Some people had wrongly assumed that, being plus-size, she must have underlying health conditions.
Earlier this month, she sent a text saying “God has done it, I’ve tested negative” to a BBC journalist.
But she wasn’t allowed to leave hospital until a fortnight later, after four more tests to check she was definitely free of the virus.
“It was two weeks of happiness after two weeks of despair, as every test was coming negative,” she says.
For now she is happy to be at home with her teenage daughter who has also recovered from Covid-19. They hope others in their household who tested positive will eventually join them safely too.
Out of 287 reported cases in Rwanda, 168 have recovered according to the health ministry.
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