KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica government says it has spent J$3.8 billion (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.008 cents) on measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, speaking during the 2020/21 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, noted that a total of just under six billion dollars has, to date, been budgeted for the Ministry of Health and Wellness for its response efforts.
“We have also leveraged a joined-up government approach to the pandemic, while mobilising the support of the people of Jamaica to help to protect us all from the COVID-19 risk, including the provision of some J$775 million in financial support to our health authorities to help meet the needs associated with the response efforts,” Tufton said.
He told legislators that J$89 million has been spent on infrastructural upgrades, including equipping hospitals with an additional 63 intensive care and high-dependency units.
In addition, an estimated J$1.7 billion has been spent on the provision of medical equipment, such as personal protective gear and COVID-19 test kits and more than J$500 million has been spent to procure prescription drugs through the National Health Fund, to ensure the effective treatment of the symptoms of persons with COVID-19.
“Other costs include the retrofitting of facilities to quarantine and/or isolate and care for persons who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19,” Tufton said.
Jamaica has recorded 745 cases of the virus and 10 deaths since the pandemic was first detected in China last December. So far 544,000 people have died and 11.8 million others infected.