The World Bank on Tuesday, March 3, announced up to $12 billion in immediate assistance to countries coping with health and economic impacts of the novel coronavirus. According to a press statement released by the group, the new fast track package will be for the developing countries to help strengthen their health systems. The financing for the package was drawn from International Development Association (IDA), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Finance Corporation (IFC), the statement said.
World Bank Group President David Malpass in the statement said, "We are working to provide a fast, flexible response based on developing country needs in dealing with the spread of COVID-19. This includes emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance, building on the World Bank Group's existing instruments and expertise to help countries respond to the crisis."
According to the statement, the financial package will provide grants and low-interest loans from IDA for low-income countries and loans from IBRD for middle-income countries, using all of the Bank’s operational instruments with processing accelerated on a fast track basis.
The statement further states that the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, will provide its clients with the necessary support to continue operations and sustain jobs.
The new coronavirus also known as COVID-19 has claimed more than 3,100 lives across the globe and has infected over 92,000 people since December 2019. According to reports, at least 175 people have died outside mainland China, which makes it the worst disease outbreak in the 21st century.
Iran and Italy have reported the most number of deaths outside China due to COVID-19. The virus originated from a seafood market in Wuhan city, where animals were being traded illegally. Hubei province in China has been most affected by the contagious disease, which is also the epicentre of the virus.
Lead Image Credit: AP