The first confirmed COVID-19 case was reported on April 1, 2020. Two large-scale testing campaigns were conducted during July 6- October 6, 2020 and January 11-February 11, 2021.Testing at the border gives rise to Covid-19 certificates, which costs US$ 100 for incoming travelers and BIF 60,000 (about US$ 30) for outgoing ones.
Measures taken to minimize the risk of the pandemic spreading in Burundi have been very limited: The population has been instructed to follow some basic rules of limited social distancing and frequent handwashing. Hand sanitizers and water for handwashing have been installed in public places. The authorities subsidized the price of soap during June-September 2020 at a cost of BIF 4.7 billion (about US$ 2.4 million) and are subsidizing water for standpipes, up to 50 percent. Covid-19 certificates are required for travelers entering or leaving the country. The Melchior Ndadaye International Airport was reopened on November 8, 2020 with some restrictions. There is a mandatory seven-day quarantine for all passengers who must also undergo two mandatory tests (one test on arrival and another on the 6th day of quarantine). Land and sea borders were closed to passengers starting January 11, 2021 though they remain open for merchandise. The ban is being reviewed regularly. The land border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was reopened on June 1, 2021 at the Gatumba entry point.
Burundi’s health care system is extremely weak. The authorities’ pandemic response plan aims to strengthen the health care system, the social safety net, and parts of the road network to facilitate access to sick people. To strengthen the health system, the authorities intend to intensify the communication on the risks of COVID-19 and enhance the screening capacity, the equipment of hospitals and health centers, and the stock of drugs. IMF staff estimates that the cost of the response plan will reach at least US$150 million (4.9 percent of GDP) cumulatively over 2020 and 2021. With the exception of the US$5 million from the World Bank, the authorities currently do not have cash buffers or credit sources that allow them to make these expenditures. They have already contacted and will continue to contact their development partners to request additional support for their pandemic response plan.