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World Bank commits $12 billion to fight coronavirus

World Bank commits $12 billion to fight coronavirus

As several countries grapple with the impact of deadly coronavirus or Covid 19, the World Bank has committed an initial emergency package of $12 billion to help cope with the situation. The virus, which initially originated in China, has spread to over 70 countries causing panic and fear in the last few weeks.

In a statement, the World Bank said, “This financing is designed to help member countries take effective action to respond to and, where possible, lessen the tragic impacts posed by the Covid-19 (coronavirus).”

The multilateral agency particularly aims to help the developing countries strengthen their health systems through the “new fast track package.” The World Bank will also work with the private sector to reduce the economic impact of the deadly virus.

The virus, which is spreading rapidly across countries, will pose serious economic challenges leading to a global slowdown. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has slashed its growth projection for the global economy in 2020 from 2.9 per cent made in November to 2.4 per cent. However, it warned that if the virus stays longer and is more intense, global economic growth could be less than 2 per cent at around 1.5 per cent.

The World Bank also said that countries face different levels of risk and vulnerability, which require different levels of support. The World Bank will prioritize the poorest countries and those at high risk with low capacity. “As the spread of Covid-19 and its impact continues to evolve, the World Bank Group will adapt its approach and resources as needed,” it further said.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of an acute shortage of protective equipment which are required to fight the deadly coronavirus

World Bank president David Malpass urged countries to immediately look at co-ordinated policy action on a regional as well as international level. He also said that said “many unknowns” about the disease remained, which may push for more aid..