Kenya's central bank releases 70-mln-USD to fight coronavirus

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-21 02:14:42|Editor: huaxia

NAIROBI, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Central Bank on Friday released 7.4 billion shillings (about 70 million U.S. dollars)to boost government's efforts to contain coronavirus.

The bank's governor Patrick Njoroge said the money was gained from a demonetization exercise carried out from June 2019, which was aimed at addressing illicit financial flows and the emerging risk of counterfeit cash.

"As you recall in September 2019, we concluded the demonetization of our currency relating to our old generation 1,000 banknotes. That matter was concluded and as a result, Sh7.4 billion worth of banknotes never came back to the system," the governor said at a meeting in Nairobi with President Uhuru Kenyatta and private sector representatives.

He observed that the bank was giving back the money to boost the government's efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

During the meeting, Kenyatta thanked the central bank and said the money would be used to support Kenyans to overcome the current health crisis.

"That money goes to help our health facilities and our health workers. That again is something we appreciate and this is what I mean when I say Kenyans working together can achieve miracles," he said.

The president announced an allocation of 10 million dollars by the government for the hiring of more health workers to increase the country's capacity to deal with the virus.

He said the additional funds will ensure the government brings on board enough manpower to support those already in the field working to save lives.

Kenya's Health Ministry said Friday it expects the number of those infected by coronavirus to increase next week going by global trends.

Mutahi Kagwe, Cabinet Secretary for Health said four more people with coronavirus-like symptoms have been admitted to the isolation facility in Nairobi while one case tested negative and was being processed for discharge.

"Our actions continue to be guided by the trends that we have observed in other countries. Evidence from other countries indicates that the number of infected persons increases dramatically in the second week following confirmation of a first case," Kagwe told journalists in Nairobi. Enditem