As the world grapples with the deadly coronavirus pandemic, the World Bank has sanctioned $1 billion as emergency financing for India to step up its battle against the fast-spreading infection. This package is among the first set of emergency support operations for developing countries approved by the World Bank.
A press release from the World Bank says, "The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a first set of emergency support operations for developing countries around the world, using a dedicated, fast-track facility for COVID-19 (coronavirus) response. The first group of projects, amounting to $1.9 billion, will assist 25 countries, and new operations are moving forward in over 40 countries using the fast-track process."
While the World Bank has sanctioned emergency financing for countries across the globe, the statement pertaining to South Asian countries reads, "$100 million will support Afghanistan to 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. 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. $200 million 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."
The World Bank has said that the urgent help to governments and companies is just the start of a broader effort. "Given the unprecedented challenges that COVID-19 poses, the World Bank expects to deploy up to $160 billion over the next 15 months to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery," reads an excerpt from the statement on the World Bank's website.
(Image source - AP)