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Covid-19 pandemic cost $30m in first seven months

Heather Thomas, the Auditor-General

More than $30 million was spent in the battle against the coronavirus in the first seven months after its arrival last March, it was revealed today.

The news came in a report issued by Heather Thomas, the Auditor-General, after an examination of the Government’s response to the pandemic.

The report said the Government gave $13.7 million to the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation to fund grants for small businesses hit hard by Covid-19 disruption.

The Ministry of Health spent $7.6 million to pay for testing equipment, call centres and laboratory services.

It cost the Ministry of National Security $7.3 million to call up the Royal Bermuda Regiment, set up quarantine centres, and provide extra security services.

Another $1.5 million was spent on support for database development, loan facility fees and other related services.

The report highlighted that the UK donated $1.8 million worth of supplies and services to Bermuda.

The figures did not include the $56 million the Government paid out in unemployment benefits to workers laid off as a result of the virus.

Ms Thomas said: “We undertook this work not only because of queries from the public, but also because of the nature and significance of the impact of the pandemic, the Government’s unprecedented spending of public monies and because the office recognises the importance of independent reporting to Parliament and the public.

“This public interest report – which was compiled from various government sources and interviews – provides a factual summary of known Government activities and financial costs to October 2020, and is the first of a multi-part programme of work scheduled.”

The report said there were about 50 regulations, amendments, orders and proclamations made that guided the Government’s pandemic response and assisted the effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Measures included the imposition of curfews, shelter in place orders and the closure of the airport.

Auditor-General’s reports are available at www.oagbermuda.bm

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Published March 05, 2021 at 3:24 pm (Updated March 05, 2021 at 3:55 pm)

Covid-19 pandemic cost $30m in first seven months

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