The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will support Bangladesh in tackling novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak challenges, said ADB Country Director for Bangladesh Manmohan Parkash.
Parkash was speaking after discussions with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the capital, said an ADB press release on Saturday. The discussions included the government's preparedness for mitigating any potential outbreak, its economic impact and possible ADB support following a government request.
"The government of Bangladesh has requested ADB to provide assistance for tackling challenges of a potential COVID-19 outbreak in the country," said Country Director Manmohan Parkash.
"As a long-standing development partner, the ADB is committed to assist Bangladesh in this difficult time. We've initiated the process of quickly exploring the financing modality and other details in close coordination with the government and other stakeholders," Parkash added. According to the release, the global public health emergency, which has been characterized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic, calls for urgent measures to respond to the disease as well as tackling its economic fallouts.
ADB has recently announced US$6.5 billion initial package to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.ADB's previous responses to COVID-19 include US$200 million made available through ADB's Supply Chain Finance Program for companies manufacturing and distributing medicines and other items needed to combat the pandemic.
ADB's response to date also includes US$2 million announced on February 7 to enhance detection, prevention and response in the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Greater Mekong Sub-region, another US$2 million announced on February 26 to support response in all its developing members, and a CNY130 million (US$18.6 million) private sector loan, signed on February 25, to Wuhan, PRC-based pharmaceutical distributor Jointown Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd to support the continued supply of essential medicines and personal protective equipment. Another grant of US$600,000 was provided to Sri Lanka on March 13.
The ADB has a strong track record of responding rapidly to provide targeted support to Bangladesh in times of emergencies including natural disasters like floods and cyclones and other disasters like influx of people in Cox's Bazar camps from across Myanmar border.
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