Economy

COVID-19: World Bank package backs developing countries

Bank approves $1.9B in emergency projects to combat coronavirus in 25 countries

Tuba Sahin   | 03.04.2020
COVID-19: World Bank package backs developing countries

ANKARA 

The World Bank on Thursday approved a first set of emergency support operations for developing countries amid coronavirus pandemic.

The first group of projects, amounting to $1.9 billion, will assist 25 countries, it said.

More than half of the emergency financing was allocated to India with $1 million to support better screening, contact tracing, and laboratory diagnostics, procure personal protective equipment, and set up new isolation wards.

The institutional lender is prepared to deploy up to $160 billion over the next 15 months to support COVID-19 measures, that will help countries respond to immediate health consequences of the pandemic and bolster economic recovery.

The economic program aims to shorten the time to recovery, create conditions for growth, support small and medium enterprises, and help protect the poor and vulnerable, it noted.

World Bank President David Malpass stressed that the poorest and most vulnerable countries will likely be hit the hardest, so the bank focused on country-level and regional solutions to address the ongoing crisis.

“The World Bank Group is taking broad, fast action to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and we already have health response operations moving forward in over 65 countries,” Malpass said.

Axel van Trotsenburg, the bank's managing director of operations, said the package will save lives and help detect, prevent and respond to the virus.

“Our country operations will be coordinated at a global level to ensure best practice is quickly shared, including approaches to strengthen national health systems and prepare for potential follow-on waves of this devastating virus,” Trotsenburg said.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China in December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 181 countries and regions.

Data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University shows worldwide infections surpassing 1 million, with more than 53,100 deaths. Over 211,700 have recovered.

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