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World Bank announces $12b for developing countries to battle coronavirus

Emergency aid package includes low-cost loans, grants

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 4, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
Posted: Mar 4, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 years ago

Photo: AFP

The World Bank has pledged $12 billion in aid for developing countries to combat the coronavirus.

According to a BBC report, the emergency package includes low-cost loans, grants and technical assistance.

World leaders have pledged to shield their countries from the economic impact of the outbreak. At the lead is the US, which announced on Tuesday that it would cut the interest rate to boost investor confidence.

There are fears that a slowdown caused by the virus will cause a recession in some countries. China’s economic slowdown has scared other countries, as industries have shut across the country.

More than 90,000 people have been infected and 3,100 killed since the first cases were identified in China’s Hubei province late last year. The worst-hit country outside of China is South Korea, which reported 516 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 5,328.

The World Bank’s aid aims to help countries improve their public health response to the crisis and work with the private sector to reduce the economic impact.

“What we’re trying to do is limit the transmission of the disease,” World Bank Group President David Malpass told the BBC. The organisation said it would prioritise the poorest and most at-risk countries in distributing the aid to counter the effects of the virus, which has spread to more than 70 countries so far.

Half of the package comes from the bank’s International Finance Corporation, which works with the private sector. About $4 billion of the $12 billion is being shifted from previously available funds.

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