Washington, Apr 3 (efe-epa).- The World Bank has approved an initial $1.9 billion in emergency funds to fight the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in 25 countries using a dedicated, fast-track facility for COVID-19.
The bank in a statement on Thursday said it was moving forward for a similar package in other over 40 countries using the fast-track process for funds to fight the disease that has so far affected more than a million people across the world and has claimed nearly 53,000 lives.
It said that the bank was also prepared to deploy up to $160 billion over the next 15 months to support COVID-19 measures that will help countries respond to the immediate health consequences of the pandemic and bolster economic recovery.
India will be receiving the largest share of $1 billion from the bank’s first set of aid projects.
In India, the emergency financing would support better screening, contact tracing, and laboratory diagnostics, the World Bank said in a statement, adding that the fund would also be used to procure personal protective equipment and set up new isolation wards for those infected.
For Afghanistan, a $100 million fund would help slow and limit the spread of COVID-19 through enhanced detection, surveillance, and laboratory systems, as well as strengthen essential health care delivery and intensive care.
A $200 million fund will support Pakistan’s preparedness and emergency response in the health sector and include social protection and education measures to help the poor and vulnerable cope with the immediate impacts of the pandemic. Sri Lanka will get $128.6 million.
Ethiopia will receive $ 82.6 million, Kenya $50 million, Democratic Republic of Congo $47.2, Ghana $35 million and Yemen with $26.9 million.
From Latin America and the Caribbean regions, Argentina will get $35 million and Ecuador, Haiti, and Paraguay will get $20 million each.
“The broader economic program will aim to shorten the time to recovery, create conditions for growth, support small and medium enterprises, and help protect the poor and vulnerable,” said the global lender.
“There will be a strong poverty focus in these operations, with an emphasis on policy-based financing, and protecting the poorest households and the environment,” said the institution.
World Bank Group President David Malpass said in a statement that the institution had financed response operations for COVID-19 in 65 countries and was “working to strengthen developing nations’ ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and shorten the time to economic and social recovery”.
“The poorest and most vulnerable countries will likely be hit the hardest, and our teams around the world remain focused on country-level and regional solutions to address the ongoing crisis,” he said. EFE-EPA