World Bank loans $50 million to boost Myanmar health system

Yangon, Myanmar Apr 20 (efe-epa).- The World Bank announced Monday that it will lend 50 million dollars to Myanmar to help equip its weak healthcare system and hospitals to handle the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country.

The emergency funds will be used to strengthen the intensive care units in some hospitals, train nurses and doctors, and promote prevention campaigns across the country, the Bank said in a statement.

The credit will increase hospitals’ ability to reduce the spread of Covid-19, protect health workers and minimize the impact on infections and deaths, Mariam Sherman, the head of the World Bank’s office in Myanmar, said.

The World Bank explained that the loan was part of the 1.6 billion dollars that it has set aside to help countries that are most vulnerable to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

With 107 confirmed cases and nine deaths, Myanmar is one of the countries that has been least affected by the coronavirus, although it has also carried out the fewest tests and suffers from a weak healthcare system.

Last week, 25,000 prisoners were released from jail, ostensibly under an annual amnesty granted to mark the Burmese New Year, although the large number of inmates released led to speculation that the government was trying to ease the burden on overcrowded prisons, which could easily become hotspots for the disease.

Authorities have urged people to remain at home, and public officials have been seen using fire trucks to spray disinfectant all over public spaces.

A nightly curfew from 10pm to 4am has also been imposed, which is enforced by patrols of armed police officers. EFE


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