World Bank approves USD 1 billion emergency funds for India to tackle coronavirus pandemic

World Bank approves USD 1 billion emergency funds for India to tackle coronavirus pandemic
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The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors yesterday approved first set of emergency support operations for developing countries around the world, using a dedicated, a fast-track facility for COVID-19 (coronavirus) response.

The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors yesterday approved first set of emergency support operations for developing countries around the world, using a dedicated, a fast-track facility for COVID-19 (coronavirus) response. The first group of projects, amounting to USD 1.9 billion, will assist 25 countries, and new operations are moving forward in over 40 countries using the fast-track process.

In the process the board has approved financial support of USD 1 billion as emergency funding for India to support India in better screening, contact tracing and laboratories diagnostics, procure personal protective equipment and setting new isolation wards. It will help India in preventing, detecting and responding to COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen its public health preparedness. Coronavirus pandemic has claimed 72 lives and infected 2,543 people in the country.

The largest chunk of the emergency financial assistance has gone to India - USD 1 billion.

"In India, USD 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 in a release that came out after its Board of Directors approved the first set of emergency support operations for developing countries around the world.

In South Asia, the world bank has also approved USD 100 million to support Afghanistan so that it a 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. It approved USD 200 million to 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 also said, "It is working worldwide to redeploy resources in existing World Bank-financed projects worth up to USD 1.7 billion, including through restructuring, use of emergency components of existing projects (CERCs) and triggering of CAT DDOs and spanning every region." It adds, "The World Bank Group is prepared to deploy up to USD 160 billion over the next 15 months to support COVID-19 measures that will help countries respond to immediate health consequences of the pandemic and bolster economic recovery. "

It said, "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. 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."

"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 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."

A total of 1,015,940 COVID-19 cases have been reported across the world with 53,218 deaths and 212,993 recoveries reported so far, according to WorldOmeter data.

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