World Bank Approves $ 1 Billion Emergency Fund For India To Address Covid-19 Outbreak

WASHINGTON: The world Bank It has approved $ 1 billion in emergency funds for India to help it cope with the pandemic, which has claimed 76 lives and infected 2,500 people in the country.

The world Bank 's first set of aid projects, amounting to $1.9 billion, will assist 25 countries, and new operations are moving forward in over 40 nations using the fast-track process, the bank said on Thursday.

Most of the emergency financial assistance went to India: $ 1 billion.

"In India, $1 billion emergency financing will support better screening, contact tracing, and laboratory diagnostics; procure personal protective equipment; and set up new isolation wards," the world Bank said after its Board of Executive Directors approved the first set of emergency support operations for developing countries around the world, using a dedicated, fast-track facility for Covid-19 response.

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In South Asia, the world Bank also approved $200 million for Pakistan, $100 million for Afghanistan, $7.3 million for the Maldives and $128.6 million for Sri Lanka.

The world Bank said it was now working to grant up to $160 billion over the next 15 months to support measures to tackle the pandemic which will focus on the immediate health consequences and bolster economic recovery.

The broader economic program will aim to shorten recovery time, create conditions for growth, support small and medium-sized businesses and help protect the poor and vulnerable.

There will be a strong focus on poverty in these operations, with an emphasis on policy-based financing and protecting the poorest households and the environment, he said.

"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," said world Bank Group President David Malpass .

We are working to strengthen the capacity of (developing) nations to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and shorten the time for economic and social recovery. The poorest and most vulnerable countries are likely to be the most affected, and our teams around the world remain focused on solutions at the national and regional levels to address the current crisis, Malpass said.

According to the bank, $ 100 million will help Afghanistan curb and limit the spread of Covid-19 through improved detection, surveillance and laboratory systems, as well as strengthen the provision of essential medical care and intensive care.

In Pakistan, $ 200 million will support emergency preparedness and response in the health sector and will include social protection and education measures to help the poor and vulnerable cope with the immediate impacts of the pandemic, the bank said.

Responding to widespread supply chain disruptions, the world Bank is helping countries access critically needed medical supplies by reaching out to suppliers on behalf of the governments.

The world Bank is encouraging others to provide financial support to developing countries for the Covid-19 health response, said the media statement.

A total of 1,002,159 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in more than 175 countries and territories with 51,485 deaths reported so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.