The World Bank has announced a grant of USD 12 billion in aid for developing countries hit with the scourge of Coronavirus. The emergency package comes with low-cost loans, technical assistance and grants. The aid comes as leaders across the globe pledge to protect their countries form the economic impact of the outbreak. There is a risk that slowdown resulting from the outbreak could plunge the countries into recession. The package is intended to help the nations improve and develop their public health sector to cope with the crisis created by pandemic. The aid also aims to encourage private sector partnership to reduce the economic impact.
“What we are trying to do is limit the transmission of the disease,” World Bank Group President David Malpass told the BBC. World Bank said it would on priority provide support to the poorest and most at-risk countries grappling with the virus which has infected more than 70 countries around the globe. Half of the package is provided by organization’s International Finance Corporation which facilitates private sector. Nearly USD 4bn of the $12 billion is being activated from previously available funds.
Countries having poor and underdeveloped health systems, limited financial resource and close economic ties with China are recognized to be most vulnerable to the outbreak. Sri Lanka, Philippines and Vietnam are assessed to be the most vulnerable according to a vulnerable index provided by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
Over 92,000 cases carrying the virus have been confirmed across the world with more than 80,000 in mainland China alone. Over 3,000 people have died around the world with majority of deaths occurring on Chinese soil. New infections and deaths have dropped down in recent weeks in China due to hard quarantine enforced by the state. 38 new deaths were reported on Wednesday but a decline has been reported in fresh cases for a third day in a row.
South Korea remains worst-hit nation outside China confirming 516 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, bringing the totally to 5,328 with 33 deaths. “The Point is to move fast; speed in needed to save lives,” Mr. Malpass made his point while talking to reporters. ‘There are scenarios where much more resources may be required. We’ll adapt our approach and resources as needed.”
The Dow Jones dropped nearly 800 points on Tuesday clipping Monday’s gains. This was despite a rare emergency move by United States Federal Reserve to cut interest rates by 0.5% amid the looming outbreak threat. The move recorded the biggest cut since global financial crisis that emerged in 2008.