JIS News

The Ministry of Health and Wellness, says it has approximately $702 million to be expended in July as part of ongoing measures to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The sum is the balance on a $4.6-billion allocation of which $3.9 billion has been spent to date.

About $6 billion has been budgeted for the Ministry’s COVID-19 response.

Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said that the $3.9 billion expended so far has been “well spent”.

“We feel that we have seen the results of that spend in terms of our ability, to date, to control the spread, or to treat with those who are affected,” he noted during the weekly virtual COVID Conversations press briefing at the Ministry’s office in New Kingston on Thursday (July 9).

Dr. Tufton noted that the funds were used on containment measures, which include an allocation to the regional health authorities (RHA), infrastructural upgrade, testing kits and provision of medication through the National Health Fund (NHF).

To date, Jamaica has had 753 cases of the virus, 603 recoveries and 10 deaths.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dunstan Bryan, in providing further details of the COVID-19 spend, informed that transfers made to the RHAs and partner entities, such as the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), for the implementation of activities to militate against the spread of the virus, accounted for the largest portion of the expenditure at approximately $1.1 billion.

The money also went towards the provision of medical equipment, including personal protective equipment at a cost of $577 million, drugs and sundries for $956 million, and accommodation of persons in quarantine and isolation facilities at approximately $500 million.

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