Govt. spending on COVID-19 efforts rises to MVR 892 million

Ambulances on the road of Male' City. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Finance Ministry has announced that the Maldivian government’s spending towards efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in the country has risen to MVR 892.3 million.

The figure is a 2.9 percent increase from the week before.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NMDA) and the main government hospital Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) were the largest contributors towards coronavirus spending last week, mainly due to their spending on medical equipment and medical consumables.

Overall, spending on supplies and requisites for service provision, primarily on medical consumables, increased by MVR 12.5 million, while sending on capital equipment, primarily on medical equipment, increased by MVR 7.7 million.

While the government spent MVR 892.3 million on coronavirus efforts by the end on May 28, 53.5 percent of the figure was committed-spending.

The biggest spender, NMDA has spent total MVR 584.4 million towards coronavirus efforts, while IGMH has spent 141.1 million.

Meanwhile, National Social Protection Agency (NSPA) has spent MVR 4.4 million on grants and subsidies, the Foreign Ministry has spent MVR 3.7 million from its domestic budget on aid, and the Zakat Fund has spent MVR 3.7 million.

The Health Ministry spent MVR 73.8 million on procurement of medical consumables, test kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and NDMA spent MVR 111.5 million on capital equipment.

MVR 29 million has been spent on isolation and quarantine facilities.

Maldives identified its first coronavirus case on March 7, and declared a state of public health emergency over the pandemic four days later on March 11.

While coronavirus cases had initially been restricted to resorts and safaris, and later quarantine facilities holding inbound travelers, Male’ City identified its first coronavirus case on April 15, prompting a city-wide lockdown and a nationwide ban on nonessential travel.

The populous Male’ City has since become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, contributing to over 90 percent of the total cases.

Maldives has recorded 1,829 coronavirus cases, 32 percent of whom are Maldivians, while the remaining 68 percent are foreign nationals. 1,003 people – making for 54 percent of total coronavirus cases – are Bangladeshis. The rest of the coronavirus cases include 590 Maldivians, 186 Indians, 23 Nepalese, and 11 Italians.

488 patients have since recovered, while seven have died from complications.