About 200,000 Rwandans in the capital Kigali received government welfare support during the coronavirus lockdown, an official said Monday.

“The beneficiaries consisted of about 2,000 vulnerable families. The welfare support included basic necessities such as assorted foodstuffs and sanitary items,” local government minister Anastase Shyaka told a news conference.

The virus broke out in Rwanda in March, and to date the number of infections registered is 1,582, including five deaths and 834 recoveries, according to its Health Ministry.

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

The East African country eased lockdown on May 4 but a nighttime curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. remains in place.

Borders also remain closed except for cargo and returning Rwandans, and legal citizens who are subject to a mandatory two-week quarantine.

Earlier, Health Minister Daniel Ngamije told reporters that the government earmarked $73 million for virus fight for six months, of which $60 million were spent over the last 120 days.

The expenses covered testing, tracing, isolating people in quarantine with government footing meals and accommodation bills, treatment and other activities to contain the virus, he said.

Ngamije underlined that over time, Rwanda has improved its testing capacity from 300 to 4,000 samples per day.

He urged the public to take seriously the various health advisories to contain the virus, including proper wearing of face masks, social distancing and regular hand-washing.

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