ADB approves $2m for Pakistan to battle COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved on Monday a further $2 million grant to support the government of Pakistan’s efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The grant, financed from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, will help fund the immediate purchase of emergency medical supplies, personal protective equipment, diagnostic and laboratory supplies, and other equipment.

It supplements an initial $500,000 approved by ADB on March 20 this year, which is already being deployed to support Pakistan’s procurement of emergency supplies through UNICEF.

Taken together, this $2.5 million in approved funding represents ADB’s immediate response for Pakistan, with further support to follow, an ADB press release said.

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“ADB recognizes the extraordinary burden of this outbreak on Pakistan and is committed to supporting it in the fight to control COVID-19”, said ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang. “This grant will help strengthen COVID-19 detection, improve infection prevention and control, and boost Pakistan’s capacity to respond to the pandemic.”

ADB’s assistance echoes the World Health Organization’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 and Pakistan’s National Action Plan for Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19), which includes preventive measures, containment efforts, and treatment of infected persons.

Given the urgency of the required support, ADB would use the most flexible and expeditious approaches to facilitate procurement of the required medical supplies and equipment.

On 18th March, the Bank announced an initial package of approximately $6.5 billion to address immediate needs of its developing member countries to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice down the road whenever the situation warrants, the statement further said.

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