BUJUMBURA, 7 January 2021 – Burundi has recorded 40 COVID-19 cases, the highest number of infections in any 48 hours since the first case was detected in March 2020.
The surge in cases is being blamed on gatherings over the festive end-year season.
Health officials in the capital, Bujumbura, said the first ten people tested positive in the capital, Bujumbura, ahead of trips they were planning to take.
Contact-tracing by public health officials led to the testing of some 284 people, with 30 of them testing positive for the new coronavirus.
Burundi has put in place stricter restrictions in the hope of curbing the spread of the virus.
Last week, Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye vowed to severely punish anyone who violates the measures.
“We have heard some top officials using their offices to sneak in their relatives without toing through a mandatory test. Whoever will be caught will be considered a criminal and will face the law,” news outlets reported Thursday, citing President Ndayishimiye.
As of last January 5, Burundi’s Health Minister Thadde Ndikumana said the country had recorded 884 cases, 773 recoveries, with two fatalities.
The new coronavirus pandemic has done great damage to the Burundian economy, notably lowering exports, increasing imports, and slashing the inflow of remittances.
The International Montary Fund (IMF) estimates that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will fall drastically – from an initial 5.3 percent growth to a negative 3.2 percent in 2020.
Foreign aid has resumed but is not yet contributing to 40 percent of the country’s annual budget, as it did just prior to the election of Presient Ndayishimiye.