Rwanda spends $60 million on COVID-19 in four months

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The Rwandan government has spent about $60 million (about 58 billion Rwandan francs) on COVID-19 over the last four months, the Minister of Health said Monday.

“The virus is very expensive for the government in terms of testing, tracing, isolating people in quarantine, where government foots meals and accommodation bills, as well as patients’ treatment and other activities to contain COVID-19,” Daniel Ngamije told a news conference in the capital Kigali.

“In terms of expenses, the government drew a $73 (about 70 billion Rwandan francs) budget for a period of six months.  Around $60 million has been spent so far over the last four months covering all expenses as outlined and human resources,” Ngamije said.

He stressed that the government losses in terms of revenue should also be factored in terms of cost.

The virus broke out in Rwanda in March.

As of Sunday evening the number of the COVID-19 cases in Rwanda reached 1,582, including 834 recoveries and five deaths.

The minister attributed the progress in fighting COVID-19 to good governance and collaboration among different stakeholders.

Ngamije urged the public to take seriously the various health guidelines put in place to contain the virus including social distancing, wearing of masks and regular hand washing.

He also said over time Rwanda improved its lab capacity from testing 300 to 4000 samples per day.

Meanwhile, Local Government Minister Anastase Shyaka said about 200,000 Rwandans in Kigali received government welfare support during the period of lockdown declared in March following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

The beneficiaries comprised of about 2000 vulnerable families but the numbers grew as days of lockdown extended, from about 20,000 initial figures, he said.

The welfare support was in terms of basic necessities, including assorted foodstuffs and sanitary items, he said. 

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