World Bank approves USD 1 billion emergency funds for India to fight coronavirus outbreak
New Delhi : The World Bank on Thursday approved USD 1 billion emergency funds for India to combat the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 1 million people across the world and killed over 50,000 people.
"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.
Earlier, the World Bank had announced that it will be providing an aid of USD 1.9 billion to assist 25 countries. India has managed the largest chunk of emergency funds – USD 1 billion.
In South Asia, the World Bank also approved USD 200 million for Pakistan, USD 100 million for Afghanistan, USD 7.3 million for Maldives and USD 128.6 million for Sri Lanka.
The World Bank has claimed that it will now be looking forward to provide USD 150 billion in next 15 months to support the measures to tackle the pandemic and its immediate effects on health and recovery of the economy.
The prime aim behind the financial aid is to shorten the time of recovers and create growth opportunities by supporting small and medium enterprises.
"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 (the) 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," Malpass said.