World Bank approves $1-billion emergency funds for India to tackle coronavirus

World Bank approves $1-billion emergency funds for India to tackle coronavirus

The World Bank on Thursday approved $1-billion emergency financing for India to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed 76 lives and infected 2,500 others in the country. The World Bank's first set of aid projects, amounting to $1.9 billion, will assist 25 countries, and new operations are moving forward in over 40 nations using the fast-track process, the bank said. The largest chunk of the emergency financial assistance has gone to India -- $1 billion.

"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," the World Bank said after its Board of Executive Directors approved the first set of emergency support operations for developing countries around the world, using a dedicated, fast-track facility for Covid-19 response.

In South Asia, the World Bank also approved $200 million for Pakistan, $100 million for Afghanistan, $7.3 million for Maldives and $128.6 million for Sri Lanka. The World Bank said it is now working to grant up to $160 billion over the next 15 months to support measures to tackle the pandemic which will focus on the immediate health consequences and bolster economic recovery.