The World Bank has approved $1 billion emergency fund for India to prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and strengthen its public health preparedness on April 2.
According to an NDTV report, the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved its first set of aid projects, amounting to $1.9 billion, to assist emergency support operations in 25 countries. The bank stated that new operations are moving forward in over 40 nations using the fast-track process.
India received the largest chunk of the emergency financial assistance, $1 billion. At the time of writing this article, the coronavirus outbreak has claimed 53 lives and infected over 2,000 others in the country.
Apart from India, the World Bank also approved $200 million for Pakistan, $100 million for Afghanistan, $7.3 million for the Maldives and $128.6 million for Sri Lanka.
The World Bank is helping countries across the globe to tackle the supply chain disruptions and get requisite medical supplies by reaching out to suppliers on behalf of the governments.
According to the World Bank, it is now working on a 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.
Shortening the time to recovery, creating conditions for growth, supporting small and medium enterprises, and helping to protect the poor and vulnerable are some of the ventures the broader economic program will aim for.
The bank added that 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," World Bank Group President David Malpass was quoted as saying.
"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 added.
The statement also added that the World Bank is encouraging others to provide financial support to developing countries for the COVID-19 health response.